[Met Performance] CID:139510
Pelléas et Mélisande {45} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/12/1945.


Boston, Massachusetts
April 12, 1945


Pelléas.................Martial Singher
Mélisande...............Bidú Sayao
Golaud..................Lawrence Tibbett
Arkel...................Alexander Kipnis
Geneviève...............Margaret Harshaw
Yniold..................Lillian Raymondi
Physician...............Lorenzo Alvary

Conductor...............Emil Cooper

Review of Warren Storey Smith in the Boston Post


Stands in Silence to Honor Memory of President

Before the playing of the national anthem at the Opera House last evening, H. Wendell Endicott, president of the Boston Opera Association, asked the audience to stand for a few moments in silent tribute to "our noble President," There was no other observance, but the first solemn chords of the Prelude to "Pelléas et Mélisande" accorded well with what must have been everyone's mood. Fortunately it was this opera of Debussy that the Metropolitan had planned for the occasion, not one of the lighter pieces of the repertory.


The history of "Pelléas" in Boston has been a curious one. We heard it first when it was a comparatively new work, from the Manhattan Company with the incomparable Mary Garden. Thereafter it was a common experience in both the Boston Opera and Chicago Opera days. We have heard it once since from the Metropolitan and once from the Philadelphia Company, yet its present Boston status is still almost that of a musical curiosity.

Those with long memories last evening were not necessarily happy in the possession of them. For them the stage and orchestra pit were peopled with ghosts - ghosts of the participants in another and very different sort of "Pelléas" from this one. One member of the cast, to be sure, fulfilled, perhaps even exceeded the best traditions of his role, and that was Marital Singher as Pelléas.

The ever-dependable Alexander Kipnis was a sufficient Arkel, but the other principal singing actors in varying degrees failed to qualify.

Great Disappointment

As Mélisande, Bidu Sayao was pretty to look at but her characterization of the part was pallid and the music plainly does not suit her voice. The Golaud of Lawrence Tibbett was no more than effective, the Genevieve of Margaret Harshaw, quite incompetent.

In large measure "Pelléas" is an orchestral opera and herein lay the greatest disappointment of all, since Emil Cooper seemed under the delusion that he was conducting "Götterdämmerung" or "Elektra." In the fourth act, where Debussy for once genuinely dramatic, met him half way, Mr. Cooper's energy was more or less in place, though even here he was inclined to over-drive the orchestral sonorities. Of the singers, only Mr. Singher could cope with them. The settings, while not remarkable, were satisfactory. Unused to the opera, the audience did not get the point of not applauding during the entr'actes. Anyway, it seemed generally pleased and interested.

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