[Met Performance] CID:16070
Metropolitan Opera Premiere (Les Pêcheurs de Perles)
La Navarraise {4}
Les Pêcheurs de Perles {1} Acts I & II
. Metropolitan Opera House: 1/11/1896.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 11, 1896 Matinee
Metropolitan Opera Premiere


Léila...................Emma Calvé
Nadir...................Giuseppe Cremonini
Zurga...................Mario Ancona
Nourabad................Vittorio Arimondi

Conductor...............Armondo Seppilli

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

Les Pêcheurs de Perles received one performance this season.


Anita...................Emma Calvé
Araquil.................Albert Lubert
Garrido.................Pol Plançon
Remigio.................Armand Castelmary
Ramon...................Georges Mauguière
Bustamente..............Maurice Devries

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

Unsigned review in the Brooklyn Eagle


It was a Calvé matinee at the Metropolitan Opera House on Saturday afternoon, and anyone knowing this great artist who desired to test the popularity she has won among the fair sex could have had a splendid opportunity in witnessing the enthusiastic applause that marked her efforts. The house was tested to its capacity, and in addition to several curtain calls at the end of each act Calvé and her support made so many tours across the stage that finally a bow at the entrance was all that checked the applause. The programme consisted of two acts from Bizet's "Les Pecheurs do Perles" (The Pearl Fishers), an opera that had its initial presentation In New York, and Massenet's "La Navarraise." The "Pearl Fishers" has its plot in a tradition to the effect that Leila, an Indian princess, is called to stand on the summit of a rock overlooking the water, as the fishers throw out their nets, she is veiled and sings to the gods to bring them good luck. Zurga and Nadir, both of whom have fallen in love with her, seek to speak to her. During the night as she stands alone she unveils herself and Nadir approaches and declares his love, which she reciprocates. They are about to part, with promises to meet nightly when they are discovered by Nourabad, the priest, and are condemned to death for violating the laws of the gods. In the last act, which was not given, however, Zurga, who, notwithstanding his love for Leila, is a friend of Nadir, and gives them an opportunity to escape, for which act he is condemned to death. The setting of the piece in its two scenes was in keeping with its scene of action, but with the exception of the costumes of the principals those worn could have fitted any other country as well. Calvé was Leila, and impersonated the young princess with all the grace needed to make her part in keeping, while in the vocal numbers she was as completely the mistress of the score as she ever was in anything she has attempted. Bizet has developed this opera from a very uncertain [beginning] to a score that is full of sympathetic music, with a few concerted pieces that rank well with other light operas. In "Full well I remember," in the second act, Calvé gave full range to her voice and in her shading of the turns from full throat tones to those that seemed to come from her head she strung them together with the fineness of a spider web. In the first act Ancona, who impersonated Zurga, and Cremonini. Nadir, were compelled to repeat their duet, which was the second best number of the opera. Arinondi was Nurabad, but to Ancona, in spite of an occasional flatness, is due the credit for the finest rendition of the male roles. The orchestra, under Seppilli did not hold the key to the mark throughout, playing almost with a degree of uncertainty at certain critical moments.

''La Navarraise" gave Calvé a second opportunity to display her talent, and in this opera her ability as an actress had better play. Her Anita needs no further recommendation than it has already received, that of being a finished performance. Lubert, as Araguil, was in splendid voice, and made a dramatic lover, while Garrido, in Plançon's hands, becomes a most dignified and acceptable general, Castelmary and Maguiere were Remigio and Ramon, respectively. Bevignani conducted, a fact that was apparent as soon as the first chord of the overture was struck. The beauty of the camp scene as night closed in was marked by the suddenness with which the mountains, which had been tipped with the rays of the setting sun, went out.

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