[Met Performance] CID:1950
Lucia di Lammermoor {8} Matinee ed. Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio: 02/13/1884.

(Review)


Cincinnati, Ohio
Music Hall
February 13, 1884 Matinee


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {8}

Lucia...................Marcella Sembrich
Edgardo.................Italo Campanini
Enrico..................Giuseppe Kaschmann
Raimondo................Achille Augier
Normanno................Amadeo Grazzi
Alisa...................Imogene Forti
Arturo..................Vincenzo Fornaris

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


Review in an unidentified Cincinnati newspaper:

Musically considered

"Lucia's" music may be hackneyed enough, its sweet melodies may not appeal to the appreciation of those who are found of a sturdier school, but nevertheless, among the masses is retains a perennial popularity. The presentation of the opera yesterday afternoon proved this appreciation abundantly and was, by far, the most enthusiastically received performance in the progress of the week. The orchestra was expected to do better work than on the night preceding and it did; the ensemble was excellent, the choruses well rendered. But outside of the tragic romance which attaches to the well known story, the main interest of "Lucia" centers on a few soloists. Donizetti has treated his subject dramatically, but the connection of incidents is never accomplished by the music; on the contrary, he appears to have written more for the sake of the soloists than for the elucidation of the story. The burden of the opera, in this respect, is carried by Lucia, Edgardo and Enrico. These roles were most satisfactorily interpreted by Mme. Marcella Sembrich, Signor Campanini and Signor Kaschmann. It was Mme. Sembrich's début before a Cincinnati audience, and well may she be pleased with her reception. It can only be characterized as unbounded enthusiasm over the great prima donna, and an enthusiasm well deserved. At the close of the first act she was called out four times, and the florid arias of the third act received encores that would have been doubled had she shown any disposition to such overindulgence of the public. A large bouquet of fresh cut flowers was presented to her, and evidently pleased, she bowed her compliments to the audience several times.

Mme. Sembrich's voice is a high soprano of extraordinary flexibility and cultivation. That besides being a great vocalist, she is a thoroughbred musician, was apparent from every number and every bar she sang. There was observed a minute conscientiousness of detail, there was no slighting or slurring of notes, such as is the case even with some artists of acknowledged ability, everything she sang bore upon it the impression of broad musical intelligence. Even the musicians in the orchestra yesterday afternoon felt themselves called upon to give her applause. The quality of her voice is ringing, it is far-reaching, possessing both volume and strength at the same time it is not lacking in smoothness. Her best notes are in the high mezzo range, at the same time the later is large and her compass of it reliable. In fioriture she is evidently at home, and the most difficult cadenzas are sung with ease and sympathetic quality. The portamento she uses judiciously, at the same time with beautiful effect. The carrying power of her voice is remarkable, sudden accents and descents of considerable intervals are accomplished with facility, each not receiving its full value. Her intonations were pure; they chimed with the orchestra to the echo. In her trills, each note could be distinctly heard, and how rapid so ever the passage, it was characterized by conscientiousness of execution. But if Mme. Sembrich is especially brilliant in fioriture, she shows herself a greater artist in legato singing. Her rendering of the mad scene arias, "Il dolce manno" and "Spargi d'amaro," was so brilliant that it would be hypercritical indeed to find fault with it. It had the coloring, the sentiment, the soul of a great artist. The enthusiasm of the audience after the arias knew no bounds. Her interpretation of Lucia is characterized by pathos which is never overdone. Mme. Sembrich may consider herself an established favorite with a Cincinnati audience. She is truly an artist of whom it may be said that she does everything well.

Campanini shared honors with Mme. Sembrich in the rôle of Edgardo, and, with her, was called out four times at the close of the first act, besides receiving several encores. He seemed himself again - the same great tenor that had enthused a Cincinnati audience on so many occasions before. His conception of the rôle was intensely dramatic, and his superb acting carried along with it much of the interest that attaches to the opera. It appeared again the same flexible, sympathetic, cultivated voice. There was no harshness traceable, and if the falsetto was used, it was clothed with all the ingeniousness of art. In the duet of Lucia and Edgardo of the first act the blending of voices was most felicitous, and in the trio of the marriage scene, Campanini's voice contributed a great deal to the beauty of the ensemble.

Signor Kaschmann, as Enrico, made a successful début before the audience. He has a baritone voice of extraordinary volume and power, and its value is especially felt in ensemble singing. He sings with emphasis and conscientiousness, at the same time with a certain degree of harshness. He established a warm sympathy with the audience at once, and after the aria, "La pietade" was enthusiastically recalled. The other members of the cast were Signorina Forti, Signor Fornari, Signor Grazzi and Signor Augier.



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