[Met Performance] CID:18530
Le Cid {3} The Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois: 03/8/1897.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
March 8, 1897


LE CID {3}
Jules Massenet--Adolphe Énnery/Louis Gallet/Édoard Blau

Don Rodrigue............Jean de Reszke
Chimène.................Félia Litvinne
Infanta.................Clémentine De Vere
Don Diègue..............Edouard de Reszke
Count Gormas............Pol Plançon
King....................Jean Lassalle
St. Jacques.............Jacques Bars
Moorish Envoy...........Jacques Bars
Don Arias...............Igenio Corsi
Don Alonzo..............Antonio De Vaschetti
Dance...................Martha Irmler

Conductor...............Luigi Mancinelli

Review in the Chicago Daily Tribume

"LE CID" IS A TRIUMPH

FIRST PRESENTATION IN CHICAGO IS INCOMPARABLY BRILLIANT

M. Jean de Reszke Seems a Richard Coeur de Lion, Resplendent in Medieval Millinery Glamour - Repeated Calls for the Great Artist, Who Finally Appears Alone in a Tumult of Applause - Others Sing Who Were in the Original Production.


"LE CID" of Massenet was given a first Chicago presentation at the Auditorium last night, and awakened a scene of excited enthusiasm such as never has been aroused in the building on a like occasion. The central figure of the presentation was M. Jean de Reszke, who, in the title role, might have posed for Richard Coeur de Lion. The heroic cast of the character gave hint a splendid opportunity, and the music in variety and contrast served to voice the completeness of his resource. Such a splendid quartet of men's voices as M. Edouard de Reszke, M. Jean Lassalle, and M. Plançon, together with M. Jean de Reszke afforded is seldom granted on any stage. Mine. Litvinne and Mme. de Vere sustained the Chimene and the Infanta.

Recalls Too Numerous to Count.

After the first act the curtain calls were repeated: succeeding the second Sig. Mancinelli was called twice to the stage, after the principals had been cheered and brought out until the counting of their reappearances slipped from memory. When one curtain was rung down upon the [first] portion of the third act, in which M. Jean de Reszke and Mme. Litvinne had given the great duet, the calls before the curtain were increased in number. The audience seemed determined to show M. Jean de Reszke that it wanted him all to itself, a desire finally greeted with success. And, really, had he not at least recognized the fact and come out alone, the impression was awakened that the next act would be delayed until morning.

Mme. Litvinne had trailed her somber gown in front of the curtain until it appeared light gray with the dust of the stage. Then M. Jean de Reszke stepped out alone. Mere cheers and a waving of handkerchiefs and programs greeted him. After the succeeding scene, in which the tenor is the single important figure on the stage, he was brought five times before the curtain. When the last act was ended the recalls were taken up. The audience crowded toward the footlights and cheered.

Massenet in a New Element.

And so it was that the first presentation in Chicago of Massenet's "Le Cid" was distinguished. If M. Jean de Reszke was the central figure the balance of the cast had no cause to feel remotely slighted, Each important episode was greeted with enthusiastic unreserve, and the scene was delayed at points because of it. Although many composers have taken up the theme as subject of illustration, it becomes in its heroic, military aspect a departure from the traditional of Massenet. The moral conflict between love and duty has appealed to him in other texts that he has selected, but the present finds him in a new element. There is required a greater breadth and stronger handling in the portrayal of the hero than Massenet has hitherto subjected himself to.

"La Navarraise," which he designates a "lyric episode," employs the material of war as scenic background for a love scene. The opera is brief, the characters are lightly, though in the libretto, at least, forcibly sketched. While the main episodes of the play are followed, the arrangement of the scenes and the introduction of relative material make an absolute difference between the tragedy and opera book, to which, owing to necessary tradition, the collaborators have been wise to adhere. The [first] scene is a Burgos, when Rodrigo returns in triumph, beloved of both Chemine and the Infanta. The struggle of Rodrigo between love and duty comes at that moment when he is high in favor of the King and in hopes of receiving Chimene as his wife. Avenging the honor of his father, whom De Gormas has insulted, Don Diegue is killed and Chimene orphaned. Chimene heightens the dramatic effect of the scene by seeking for the guilty one and discovering it to be Rodrigo. The single figure of woe in the general springtime of rejoicing, Chimene claims justice of the King and the death of Rodrigo, whom she declares as, in the early legend, he flaunts his villainy before her. The King hesitates to condemn him.

War Offers an Opportunity.

The appearance of Boabdil's emissary proclaiming war by the Moors against Spain breaks in on the episode. Rodrigo is sent against the enemies of his country instead of to the scaffold. A scene alone with Chimene ensues in which Rodrigo, before departing, comes to beg her forgiveness, which is refused. The action transfers itself to the Spanish camp, where Rodrigo incites the cowardly to action for their King, Resting on their arms the night before the battle a vision of St. James appears to Rodrigo in his tent foretelling victory. The scene closes with the call of the troops by Rodrigo to battle and the attack of the Moors.

The final act of the opera is placed at Granada in a room in the palace, where Don Diego is brought news by deserters of his son's death through reckless bravery. In his grief he is comforted by Chimene and the Infanta. The noise of trumpets gives the signal of victory, and instead of death upon the field Rodrigo as "Le Cid " the Conqueror returns triumphant and receives the forgiveness and the hand of Chimene.

Artists in the Original Production.

Three of the roles so notably sustained last night were done by artists engaged in the original production in Paris in 1885 - M. Jean de Reszke, M. Edouard de Reszke, and M. Plançon - the last named sustaining respectively Don Diegue and De Gormas. M. Lassalle made a stately King, and Mme. Litvinne did the best work in the rôle of Chimene that she has yet achieved during the engagement. Mme. De Vere Sabio, as the Infanta, sang the Spring Song, her chief number, an example of Massenet's best style, with recognition. The stage pictures were effective.



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