[Met Performance] CID:1560
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Carmen {1} Boston Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts: 01/5/1884.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Theatre
January 5, 1884
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In Italian

CARMEN {1}
Bizet-Meilhac/L. Halévy

Carmen..................Zelia Trebelli
Don José................Italo Campanini
Micaela.................Alwina Valleria
Escamillo...............Giuseppe Del Puente
Frasquita...............Ida Corani
Mercédès................Louise Lablache
Remendado...............Amadeo Grazzi
Dancaïre................Baldassare Corsini
Zuniga..................Achille Augier
Moralès.................Ludovico Contini
Dance...................Malvina Cavalazzi

Conductor...............Cleofonte Campanini

Director................Mr. Corani
Director................Mr. Abbiati
Set Designer............Charles Fox, Jr.
Set Designer............William Schaeffer
Set Designer............Gaspar Maeder
Set Designer............Mr. Thompson
Costume Designer........D. Ascoli
Costume Designer........Henry Dazian

Giuseppe Del Puente repeated the Toreador Song.

Carmen received ten performances in Italian this season.


Review in The Boston Globe:

'Carmen' is always popular in Boston. With the cast of characters given by Mr. Abbey last evening, on the occasion of the closing performance of his brilliant season, it is not strange that a very large audience should have assembled. It was the first performance of 'Carmen' by the Metropolitan Opera Company. There were some slight hesitancies on the part of the chorus, and the situations were not always seen to the best advantage, nor the corps of auxiliaries perfectly familiar with their duties, but it was a surprisingly good 'first night' of so exacting an opera as 'Carmen,' and on the success of the representation the impresario, the conductor, the chorus director and all who wield lyric authority under the Abbey banner are to be congratulated. Sig. Cleofonte Campanini led the orchestra admirably. Very rarely was its work so powerful as to mar the effect of the singing, and the young conductor seems to have the great corps of musicians under remarkable control, while his manner of leadership is never excited or over-demonstrative. The special event of the evening in anticipation was the operatic debut in Boston in the title character of the opera of Mme. Trebelli, an artist of great repute, who has been heard during Mr. Abbey's season of opera in New York only we believe in 'Il Trovatore,' when she appeared as Azucena. Trebelli's singing in concert last Sunday evening at the Boston was sufficient to give assurance of her abilities. Her performance of Carmen - a role which she has impersonated abroad with much success - proved in every respect to be remarkable. Trebelli's voice is in truth phenomenal. It is a full, rich, resonant, contralto, very powerful in the lower notes, yet able to easily accomplish all that is required in mezzo soprano music, such as the role of Carmen requires. There is a fine, sympathetic quality in Trebelli's singing that is noteworthy. It would be difficult to voice more perfectly the thought and sentiment of the heartless gypsy, whose so-called love is as fickle as the breeze, and who has no conception of the depth of real passion till the very moment when she meets her death at the hands of the soldier whose heart she has made her sport. Something of the witchery with which Minnie Hauk invests Carmen seems to be wanting in Trebelli's performance. Yet it is a very strong piece of acting. The love passages with the toreador at the gypsy camp and at the entrance of the Plaza de Toros were managed very finely, and the scene with the cards was made more impressive than we can recall. The performance evoked general admiration. Still, it was not Trebelli who won the greatest plaudits of the evening. These were the tributes to Campanini who fairly surpassed himself and gave a most superb impersonation of Don Jose. As a piece of acting it would take high rank indeed anywhere, this performance. The tenor sang with unusual power and spirit and at the close of the third act was recalled again and again. Del Puente was as ever the ideal Toreador. He, too, gained utmost favor, and the famous song was enthusiastically redemanded. Valleria sang with delightful purity the 'Io dico' and other numbers assigned Michaela, making a charming heroine. The roles of Paquita [sic] and Mercedes were admirably taken by Mlles. Corani and Lablanche. Cavalazzi led the ballet with her usual grace, but the coryphées were even less acceptable than usual. Carmen closed her career about 11.40 o'clock, which was not a bad record, 'considering' for Mr. Abbey's first representation of Bizet's great work.


Photograph of Zelia Trebelli as Carmen.
Photograph of Italo Campanini as Don José.
Photograph of Giuseppe del Puente as Escamillo by Mora.



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