[Met Performance] CID:1580
Faust {8} Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York: 01/8/1884.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
Academy of Music
January 8, 1884
In Italian


FAUST {8}

Faust...................Victor Capoul
Marguerite..............Christine Nilsson
Méphistophélès..........Franco Novara
Valentin................Giuseppe Kaschmann
Siebel..................Sofia Scalchi
Marthe..................Emily Lablache
Wagner..................Ludovico Contini

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi


Review from an unidentified Brooklyn newspaper:

There were few vacant seats in the Academy of Music last night, the immense auditorium, despite the storm, being almost completely filled by the most brilliant and fashionable audience that has graced an opera night for several seasons. "Faust" was the opera and Mme. Christine Nilsson the Marguerite - a combination, as was demonstrated on this occasion, potent against the direct assaults of wind and weather. What proportion of the great outpouring of music lovers is to be attributed to the personal esteem and regard in which Mme. Nilsson is held by this public, and what to the abiding popularity of Gounod's masterwork, it would be difficult to determine. There could be no mistaking, however, the warmth of welcome with which the cantatrice was greeted, while the appreciative recognition accorded the well known and familiar numbers of the opera proved that "Faust" continues, as it is likely to continue for generations to come, to maintain its commanding place in the operatic repertoire. Commendation is to be bestowed upon the direction for the completeness with which the work was presented, more than ordinary attention being paid to ensemble, while the "mise en secne" throughout was rather above the average to which Academy audiences have grown accustomed. The Marguerite of Nilsson is too well known to call for extended comment. She voiced the music of the part with grand intensity and true dramatic accent, and in many parts her interpretation rose to the heights of artistic greatness, while the pathetic numbers, and notably the "King of Thule," were sung most charmingly. The passage of time, however, has left its impress upon Mme. Nilsson and, to those who recalled the Marguerite which she first disclosed more than a decade ago, last night's impersonation was in large sense disappointing. The Faust of M. Capoul made up in action what it lacked in vocalism, the tendency of that ardent lover to the use of the falsetto distracting seriously from the effectiveness of his best efforts. The "salute di mora" was only fairly sung and hardly deserved the burst of applause with which it was received. Signor Novara presented his theatric conception of Mephisto; and although his touch is heavy he nevertheless succeeded in carrying the part to a successful conclusion. Mme. Scalchi score an unqualified triumph in the small part of Siebel, the Flower Song, being so delightfully given as to constitute it vocally the gem of the performance. Signor Kaschmann, the Valentine, who made his first appearance here on this occasion, created a most favorable impression. He is possessed of a resonant baritone voice, sings with excellent method and acts with intelligence. The death scene was most admirably managed, and with the "Soldier's Chorus" is to be noted as having constituted a principal feature of the opera, the effectiveness being largely heightened by the elaborate dressing of the stage. Mme. E. Lablache as Marta and Signor Contini as Wagner performed the little they were called upon to do satisfactorily, while the choruses were strong and efficient and the orchestra, under the direction of Signor Vianesi, competent to its work. The opera season will be brought to a close tomorrow night when "Lucia" is to be sung with Mme. Sembrich in the title role, and Signor Stagno as Edgardo. This will be the first appearance of those artists in this city.



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