[Met Performance] CID:133470
Faust {435} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts: 03/28/1942.


Boston, Massachusetts
March 28, 1942 Matinee

FAUST {435}

Faust...................Richard Crooks
Marguerite..............Licia Albanese
Méphistophélès..........Norman Cordon
Valentin................Leonard Warren
Siebel..................Lucielle Browning
Marthe..................Thelma Votipka
Wagner..................Wilfred Engelman

Conductor...............Thomas Beecham

Review of Warren Storey Smith in the Boston Sunday Post


Old Opera Is Given Beauty Treatment by British Conductor

With Sir Thomas Beecham in the pit and an expert cast on the stage, Gounod's "Faust" at and from the Metropolitan yesterday afternoon proved quite a show. This jaded belle of the lyric theatre had undergone a beauty treatment and had emerged from it transformed almost beyond recognition.


Again there was some complaint that Sir Thomas' tempi were at times too slow. But the British conductor maintains that he is old enough to remember what was done to the operas of Gounod, Bizet and Wagner by the men who received their instructions from the composers themselves. For those who had ears to hear Sir Thomas' handling of the first scene, of the whole second act and of the quieter episodes in those that followed was in the nature of a revelation, lending impressiveness, beauty, power and pathos to music that had come to seem almost irredeemably trite. As in "Carmen," the orchestra was worth hearing for itself alone, a rare experience where "Faust" is concerned.

The most glamorous singer of the afternoon, so far as reputation goes, was Richard Crooks, the Faust, but he did not steal the show from his colleagues by any means. At the outset the celebrated tenor was not in his best voice, though he accomplished some notable singing before the afternoon was over. If Licia Albanese's Marguerite was a bit on the insipid side dramatically, this Gallicized Gretchen is actually not overburdened with either dynamism or sophistication. Vocally Miss Albanese kept to the high standard she had set for herself as Micaela in the above-mentioned "Carmen." As Valentin, Leonard Warren offered his best singing of the present engagement, and he has been one of the most frequently heard of all the singers in the company. Moreover, he acted with convincing fervor; in this case quite an achievement, for Marguerite's self-righteous brother is one of the most wooden of operatic characters.
Cordon's Opportunity

Evidently the programme was printed long before hand, since it had been known for some time that Ezio Pinza, whose unguarded utterances had got him into the tolls of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, would be unable to appear as Mephistopheles. As in "The Barber of Seville" he was replaced yesterday by Norman Cordon, and the American basso proved no less resourceful in this role than he had in that of Don Basilio. His voice might not have quite the sheen and richness of that of his Italian confrere, but he uses it with great skill. There was scant reason to regret the substitution. Once more Mr. Pinza's misfortune was Mr. Cordon's opportunity. From the visual standpoint this production of "Faust" was rarely plausible and persuasive, and the very large audience was in its holiday mood.

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