[Met Performance] CID:1980
Don Giovanni {8} Matinee ed. Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio: 02/16/1884.

(Review)


Cincinnati, Ohio
Music Hall
February 16, 1884 Matinee


DON GIOVANNI {8}

Don Giovanni............Giuseppe Kaschmann
Leporello...............Giovanni Mirabella
Donna Anna..............Emmy Fursch-Madi
Don Ottavio.............Italo Campanini
Donna Elvira............Christine Nilsson
Leporello...............Giovanni Mirabella
Zerlina.................Marcella Sembrich
Masetto.................Baldassare Corsini
Commendatore............Achille Augier

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

Review in an unidentified Cincinnati newspaper

The Matinée Performance

"Don Giovanni" is a work so thorough in its musical complexion, so beautifully effectively illustrative of the text in all its details that it never fails to excite deep-felt interest. The simplicity with which Mozart has worked up his subject is no less wonderful than the naturalness and skill with which he connects musically the incidents of the story. "Don Giovanni," more than any other opera that he composed, emphasizes the fact that to him composing was as easy and natural as thinking. Inventive power belonged to him by birthright; education only matured and polished what already existed. "Don Giovanni" requires an exceptionally strong cast, for there are hardly any rôles in it that may be called subordinate. The requirement was fulfilled to a considerable degree in the brilliant performance yesterday afternoon. There were some shortcomings in the soloists, both as to voice and interpretation, but where in the ensemble there was so much to praise and enjoy, they must be looked over with thankful consideration. Signor Kaschmann was an excellent Don Juan, his conception of the title rôle being in the main consistent and satisfactory. He showed perhaps less of that utter recklessness and that hauteur which, in the midst of his profligacy, characterizes the hero of the opera, but his interpretation was not lacking in finish and art. With all his ungovernable passion, his Don Juan never forgets his noble rank and the gallantry which is supposed to distinguish high position in life. His action was always spirited, and he exhibited that dash and energy which go far towards making the rôle a success. His singing, too, was dramatic and artistic. He uses the tremolo quite frequently in robusto passages, and that may be one reason why his intonations do not always appear clear, sometimes, indeed, being positively false. His phrasing, his accents, his whole execution give evidence of superior training, while the voice itself possesses extraordinary materials, Among the solo numbers in which the qualities of his voice appear to best advantage were "Finch' ha dal vino," and the serenade "Deh vieni all finestra," which was given a deserved encore.

Mme. Nilsson appeared in the rôle of Donna Elvira. It does not give the great prima donna many opportunities for display of dramatic action or voice, but she made the most of her task. Nothing is more admirable in Nilsson on the stage than her complete devotion to the character she assumes, whatever its significance or insignificance may relatively be. She never condescends to catch the favor of the public by illegitimate and irrelevant means. Her interpretation of Donna Elvira was always characterized by calm dignity, her indignation at the wrongs received from her profligate husband not being obscured, at the same time not overdone. In her singing also Nilsson never makes an effort for brilliant effects that would not be consistent with the musical text and the requirements of the rôle. Not exerting her voice in the least yesterday, it penetrated with beautiful distinctness and clearness, the whole space of the Music Hall. Her aria, after the amusing catalogue aria of Leporello, was so well sung, with so much poetic emotion, that she was called out by the audience. In the quartet, beginning "Non ti fidar," and subsequently in the trio "Protegga il giusto bielo," her voice lent a beauty to the ensemble, which was the more effective, because it was produced without effort.

Mme. Sembrich undertook the rôle of Zerlina. Hers was a characteristic impersonation, at the same time it can not be compared in effectiveness to the Zerlina of Mme. Patti. Zerlina is a light soubrette rôle and requires vivacity of manner and sprightliness of action to an almost coquettish extent. Patti barely escapes the line of moderation in her conception and interpretation of Zerlina. Sembrich gives the part not a sufficient degree of piquancy and levity. Her voice, too, is hardly light enough for the rôle. Still her singing confirmed the impression she made in "Lucia." In the duet with Don Juan, "La ci darem," she surpassed herself, and it proved to be a masterpiece of vocalization. It deserved the encore which it received.

As for Mme. Fursch-Madi, it would be difficult indeed to find a better Donna Anna. Her voice was in the best condition and declared an astonishing dramatic power. At the same time it was never harsh or unpleasant. It was especially in her ensemble singing that she was heard to excellent advantage. The blending of her voice in the trio "Protegga" was admirable. She fully shared in the honors of the performance.

Campanini was a model Don Ottavio. Both as to acting and singing he was a success. He was enthusiastically received by the audience, and with charming effect sang "Il mio tesoro." The delicate sentiment, the warmth of feeling and, at the same time, the refined coloring he imparted to it all was certainly the work of a great artist. It received an encore. Mirabella showed some excellent qualities as to acting, but his singing was liable to the same defects already noticed. His voice is not musical, and not strong or deep enough for the part. Signor Corsini deserves a great deal of praise for his Masetto. It was well acted and well sung. He has a voice of most agreeable quality. Signor Augier undertook the part of Il Commandatore agreeably. The opera was satisfactory mounted, the choruses were effectively rendered. While the orchestra was subject to the shortcomings mentioned previously, the most satisfactory work was accomplished in the final scene.



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