[Met Performance] CID:15590
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
La Favorita {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/29/1895.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Debut: Giuseppe Cremonini
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 29, 1895
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In Italian


LA FAVORITA {1}
Donizetti-Scribe/A. Royer/Vaëz

Leonora.................Eugenia Mantelli
Fernando................Giuseppe Cremonini [Debut]
Alfonso.................Mario Ancona
Baldassarre.............Pol Plançon
Inès....................Mathilde Bauermeister
Don Gasparo.............Roberto Vanni

Conductor...............Enrico Bevignani

Director................William Parry

La Favorita received two performances this season.

Alternate title: La Favorite.

Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Times

"LA FAVORITA" AT THE OPERA

Mme. Mantelli, Signor Ancona, and Signor Cremonini, the New Tenor, Applauded Generously


Donizetti's "La Favorita" was performed last night for the first time in the Metropolitan Opera House. The opera has not been heard in this city since 1885, when, Mme. Scalchi sang the leading role at the Academy of Music under Col. Mapleson's management. It was a highly popular work in those elder days, which we are so frequently told were better than the present. The reasons for the decline of the work in public favor are not difficult to discover. They are to be found chiefly in the un-dramatic conditions which arise from the old-fashioned way of writing operas. The book of "La Favorita" has abundant theatrical strength, and treated in the direct and forceful style of the young Italian school of to-day, it would reveal its full merit. But Donizetti was a loyal son of the old Neapolitan school, which never escaped from the traditions of Handel's day. Each principal singer had to have an aria d'entrata, and the leading male and female singers must have a duo. Concerted pieces and ensembles had to come at the regulation points, no matter what the stage of the action or the immediate dramatic situation.

The famous sextet in "Lucia" is an example of this old Neapolitan subservience to musical traditions wholly opposed to truthful dramatic composition. Of course, the insertion of such numbers gives opportunity for melodious writing, and for the display of the finest vocal graces of the old school. But, since the rise to prominence of the dramatic French school, the rejuvenescence of Verdi, and the development of the young Italians - not to speak of the spread of Wagner's theories - there is little room for such works as "La Favorita."

The performance last night was excellent in most respects, and if the work will not respond to such rejuvenation, it is dead indeed. Mme. Mantelli was a most satisfactory Leonora. She was in fine voice and she sang, except for her great tremolo, with taste and judgment throughout the opera. Her "O mio Fernando" aroused great enthusiasm on the part of the "bravo" army. Signor Ancona sang the music of King Alphonso with plenty of vigor, and in the duet with Mme. Mantelli in Act II, with fine expression. Indeed, that duet was one of the gems of the evening.

The Fernando was a newcomer. Signor Cremonini, a young Italian tenor, who made his first appearance in this country. He is a good-looking man of excellent stage bearing His voice is a light one, of rather pale color, but of sufficient body. He sang last evening with a good deal of earnestness, and, on the whole, made a pleasant, though by no means deep, impression. If he has artistic devotion, he may develop into a tenor competent to fill leading roles. At present he will do very well for the secondary operas.

M. Plançon was a noble Baldassare, dignified in bearing, and imposing in vocal delivery. Mme. Bauermeister sang Inez with good effect. The chorus was quite at home in its simple labors. The orchestra disposed of its duties with equal ease. Signor Bevignani conducted. The audience was not very large, but it was generous with its applause.



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