[Met Performance] CID:144440
Lakmé {61} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 03/27/1947.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
March 27, 1947


LAKMÉ {61}

Lakmé...................Lily Pons
Gérald..................Raoul Jobin
Mallika.................Irene Jordan
Frédéric................Mack Harrell
Nilakantha..............Giacomo Vaghi
Hadji...................John Garris
Ellen...................Frances Greer
Rose....................Maxine Stellman
Mrs. Bentson............Thelma Votipka
Fortuneteller...........Lodovico Oliviero
Merchant................Anthony Marlowe
Thief...................William Hargrave
Dance...................Irene Hawthorne
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Leon Varkas

Conductor...............Louis Fourestier

Review of Alexander Williams in the Boston Herald

"Lakmé"

"Lakmé" is one of those operas whose slipshod plot and frequently trivial music are easy to detect, but it persists in the repertoire by virtue of the charm that pervades a good deal of it, and chiefly of course, for the grand opportunity it affords a coloratura soprano. If Puccini made his American hero in "Butterfly" out to be a cad, Delibes' Englishman and women are not far from bounders. But even so, what British officer would be found ardently courting an Indian priestess disguised as a beggar-maid in the middle of a teeming square? And what angry priest and his cohorts would bungle with their daggers so easy a target as the sad British officer?

Naturally, though, we do not come to "Lakmé" for the story, but for the spectacle, the singing and the music. Lily Pons was again, as in the last performance here of the opera, the star of the title role. She began in the temple music a little huskily, but soon she improved and with the "Bell Song" in the second act she was in excellent voice and sang the difficult aria with consummate skill. The audience was most appreciative of this, but we might well have been spared the ill-timed applause in the middle of the song.

Mr. Jobin was not a very convincing British officer; nor was Mr. Harrell much better. Also neither was in his best voice. By the third act Mr. Jobin was singing with his accustomed clarity, but previously he often shouted and strained instead of producing the lyric tenor of which he is capable. Mr. Vaghi was in impressive Nilakantha, the role which Pinza used to take. His music in the second act was exceptionally well sung. The minor characters were all well cast, with a special word for Frances Greer's Ellen.

The ballet, usually a stumbling block in the Metropolitan's production, was last night for once both colorful and animated. Delibes was lavish in providing a second act ballet and this can be and was last night a high point in the opera. The chief dancers were Irene Hawthorne, Leon Varkas and Peggy Smithers.

Mr. Fourestier once again, as in "Carmen," conducted with great taste and understanding. Mr. Defrere indulged his passion for vast crowds on the stage in the second act with obvious delight, but then there is reason to suppose that a bazaar in India was hardly a solitary spot. Altogether, "Lakmé" proved to be a bright page in the Metropolitan's record.



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