[Met Performance] CID:1770
Carmen {6} Haverly's Theatre, Chicago, Illinois: 01/26/1884.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
Haverly's Theatre
January 26, 1884
In Italian


CARMEN {6}

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..................Ludovico Contini
Moralès.................Achille Augier
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


Review in the Chicago Tribune:

"Carmen" at Haverly's

"Faust," which always crowds the house, was given at Haverly's on Saturday afternoon, with the same cast as on the [first] night. The offering for the evening was the lamented Bizet's fascinating opera of "Carmen." The audience was very large and justly enthusiastic. The part of Carmen was taken by the new contralto Mme. Trebelli. Campanini actually appeared and actually performed Don Jose, and Del Puente was the dashing and popular Toreador. The orchestra was well led by Signor Cleofonte Campanini, quite adequate justice being done to the brilliant and original accompaniments which give the work so high a musical value and charm. Mme. Cavalazzi and her corps de ballet gave the promised "divertissement," thus proving that the ballet feature of the Abbey Company is not, after all, a myth.

Madame Trebelli was heard for the first time. Her voice is a contralto of immense strength and depth, and of unusual compass. The upper register, however, has that hardness so common to contralti, nor has the lower that mellow richness which belongs to the ideal of this type of voice, and Mme. Trebelli manages it with much dramatic and musical effect. Her rendering of the part of Carmen was most realistic. Carmen belongs to the very worst type of womanhood. She is an animal reinterred by a great deal of the devil. Also she springs from the wholly wild and uneducated classes, consequently, her brutal nature has never taken on even a conventional refinement or modesty. She is as utterly coarse in mind and manner as she is vicious in heart. All this Mme. Trebelli presents to the letter. In her hand Carmen is a picturesque, handsome, flaming, brazen young woman, just such as she would be in real life. Mme. Hauk's creation is almost virtue's self, and here, though less startling and seductive in the first act as in the end, less monotonous. One soon tires of such utter wantonness and depravity. Mme. Trebelli was well received and applauded by the audience though she awoke no special enthusiasm. Her strange, sonorous voice and evident dramatic strength will doubtless give more pleasure in some less repulsive role.

In pure acting and singing, Del Puente as the Toreador was the perfection that he always is as Escamillo, the famous Toreador song receiving its inevitable encore. It is not only a pleasure to see and hear Del Puente as an artist. As was well said of him on this occasion, "There is something about him which excites respect and admiration for him also as a man and gentleman." Mme. Valeria as Micaela was most charming. The part is far better than that of Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni." Her costume, also, was much more becoming. She gave the lovely air in the third act with exquisite sentiment, and she ended it, moreover, with a trill of such sweetness, truth and purity of intonation as is almost never heard from human throats. It was like the trill of an instrument. It was phenomenal. The audience warmly recalled and fain would have encored her, but the encore was not accorded.

Campanini has now disappointed the public so often that his popularity is almost a thing of the past, and during the first two acts he was scarcely noticed. But in the third the lion arose from his lair. Carmen has become tired of him and his jealousy is aroused. His crouching shoulders as he walks stealthily about betray the inward tempest that is slowly but surely gathering for a terrific outburst. The occasion comes when Micaela appears to implore him to return with her to his dying mother, and Carmen does her best to hustle him off. Jose's several vain attempts to leave her, his suffocating rage at her mocking indifference, his fierce reassertion of his rights over her, his agonized tears; his frantic threats and his desperate breaking away make up a dramatic "tour de force" not surpassed even by Salvini. The energy, intensity and abandon of a perfect whirlwind of passion cannot be better done that by this most gifted man. His glorious voice, that voice which less than two short years ago, out of eight leading singers of the world, was the only one except [Myron] Whitney's, that could fill the Exposition Building - whose tones with such stentorian strength that he could attempt anything from the tenderest sigh of love to that exultant transport of Siegfried hammering his sword which rose above all the roar and clang of a Wagner accompaniment, as crashed out by [Theodore] Thomas's great festival orchestra - that matchless voice also is fearfully altered. It breaks frequently. Often it is hoarse or husky. Much of its sweetness is gone. But, even what is left, in combination with his superb acting, still suffices to rank him among the greatest artists of the lyric drama. After the third and final acts he was enthusiastically recalled and applauded.



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