[Met Performance] CID:146030
Manon {152} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/12/1947.

(Debuts: Melchiorre Luise, Laura Novak
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 12, 1947
Revised production


MANON {152}
Massenet-Meilhac/Gille

Manon...................Licia Albanese
Des Grieux..............Raoul Jobin
Lescaut.................Martial Singher
Count des Grieux........Nicola Moscona
Guillot.................Alessio De Paolis
Brétigny................George Cehanovsky
Poussette...............Frances Greer
Javotte.................Maxine Stellman
Rosette.................Claramae Turner
Innkeeper...............Melchiorre Luise [Debut]
Guard...................Anthony Marlowe
Guard...................John Baker
Maid....................May Savage
Dance...................Marina Svetlova
Dance...................Audrey Keane
Dance...................Fiala Mraz
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Nina Boneck
Dance...................Tilda Morse
Dance...................Laura Novak [Debut]
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Leon Varkas

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Designer................Joseph Urban
Set designer............Richard Rychtarik
Choreographer...........Boris Romanoff

Manon received twelve performances this season.

[Rychtarik designed a different set for Act III, the Cours la Reine.]

Review of Irving Kolodin in the New York Sun

Albanese Returns to Opera in First "Manon"

There was more than met the eye in last night's performance of "Manon" at the Metropolitan, which was just as well; for what met the ear was not always as it might have been. Specifically, there was the reappearance of Licia Albanese before a full house, after an absence since January, during which she was reported to be ailing, vocally. Those who admire this fine artist will welcome the news that she was able to deliver well her conception of a part in which she had not been seen here before. There were indications in the first two acts that she was holding back more than a little; and the voice at no time had all the color and volume of its best condition. But she stinted nothing in the "Gavotte," achieving its climax handily, and with real tone.

One doubts, however, that Manon will be as memorable a part for Albanese as some others. Finesse it has, and the inevitable care this performer brings to her work. However, it asks a kind of light-headedness which does not square with her temperament, one which is better when it drives than when it coasts. Thus the pathetic moments of the part went better than the sentimental ones, such as the farewell to the table. Unfortunately, there are more of the latter than the former.

Of the male performers, there was most that was sufferable in the Lescaut of Martial Singher. Something of the requisite bluster was evident in the acting, and a feeling for the music's style, if no rich organ tones. Raoul Jobin as Des Grieux was about the same as Raoul Jobin in anything else - hard-working, accurate and eternally unbelievable. He, too, got more from his voice when he could push it ruthlessly in "Ah fuyez"; the softer "Le Reve," ordinarily a tenor's showpiece, went by almost unnoticed because Jobin's tones, though wooden, do not float. Melchiorre Luise made his debut in the small role of the Innkeeper, attesting the kind of character talent it required.

Another new element in this "Manon" was Conductor Louis Fourestier, who was almost too musicianly for the best (or worst) qualities of Massenet. It could be that he would be better off with the authentic Wagner than with the French descendant whom Parisian cynics palled Mlle. Wagner. To this taste, the most artistic work of the evening was done by those remarkable veterans, Alessio de Paolis and George Cehanovsky, in their supporting parts. Nicola Moscona rumbled through the music of the senior Des Grieux, and Frances Greer, Maxine Stellman and Claramae Turner twittered, according to tradition, as Pousette, Javotte and Rosette. Poultry not being rationed on Wednesday, they flourished vocally.



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