[Met Performance] CID:2010
Mignon {6} Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio: 02/19/1884.

(Review)


Cincinnati, Ohio
Music Hall
February 19, 1884
In Italian


MIGNON {6}

Mignon..................Christine Nilsson
Wilhelm Meister.........Victor Capoul
Philine.................Alwina Valleria
Lothario................Franco Novara
Frédéric................Sofia Scalchi
Laërte..................Baldassare Corsini
Jarno...................Ludovico Contini
Antonio.................Amadeo Grazzi

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

[Grazzi was listed in newspapers and in the program to sing Giuseppe. Since there is no character by this name in Thomas' opera, and the role of Antonio had not been assigned to another artist, Grazzi presumably performed the part.]

Review in an unidentified Cincinnati newspaper:

The Performance.

"Mignon' is an opera, peculiar in its style of composition, at the same time it is thoroughly pleasing throughout. It is romantic in the history which it illustrates, its music is light and tripping, sometimes terpsichorean in character, but it never loses its individuality, and its rhythmic forms and their connections are consistently developed according to the spirit and incidents of the story. It is not an opera for a great deal of vocal display, but it affords simple opportunities to the genuine artist, both as to voice and acting. Nilsson, in the title rôle, has always been considered great and, if her interpretation of it was less brilliant than years ago, it was nonetheless refined and intellectual. It bore upon it the impression of maturer judgment and correct taste. It was by no means a time impersonation. No more charming naïveté could have been imagined than that which she exhibited in the [boudoir] scene. But it never condescended to excessive frivolity. Her action was chastened by the consideration that she had been rescued from gypsy life and by the vague gloom of mind, that she had been removed from the sunny climes of her childhood's days. And so in the first act, when Mignon's gypsy life is portrayed that poetic sentiment looking back to the happiness of a forgotten past, and vaguely stretching forward to a better future and the recovery of what had been lost, never forsaken Nilsson's beautifully correct interpretation. Never exerting herself for vocal or histrionic effects, disfiguring the evenness of the performance, she presents a Mignon in all details of conception and interpretation the like which it would be difficult to find on the stage. Her singing of "Knowest thou the land" was sympathetic, and aglow with feeling, at the same time it was tinged with an expression of sorrowful yearning. Her soliloquy in the [boudoir] chamber was perhaps the most enjoyable feature of the whole evening's performance. It was a perfect picture of the ideal Mignon, such as the best interpreters have conceived the character. Her joy in having made the discovery of a beautifying [boudoir] was characterized by no levity whatever; it was the joy of a gypsy girl who, having escaped the drudgery of her former life was almost unconsciously aware of her real position in life and her future restoration to family and dignity. Her singing in the soliloquy was qualified by all those traits which belong to a great artist alone. Her notes were strikingly clear and sympathetic, and her whole reading was thoroughly enjoyable. Conscientiousness and the sympathy of art were always preserved. With Nilsson glittering displays may seldom be found; genuine art fails her never. It was no surprise that the audience, appreciating her high merit, called her out four times after this scene and that its enthusiasm was of the most positive nature. In the final scene this consistency of interpretation reached its legitimate climax. The gradual strengthening of her memory, as she reads the prayer of her childhood's days and recollects the image of her mother culminating in the recognition of her father and her restoration to his fond embrace was most naturally portrayed. It was, both as to voice and acting, a masterpiece of interpretation.

The rôle of Filina was excellently interpreted by Mme. Valleria. She was in good voice, which, however, failed her at times in the high register. The singing of the well-known polonaise was neatly done and her acting throughout was highly creditable. M. Victor Capoul assumed the important rôle of Gulielmo, and acquitted himself surprisingly well. His acting was dramatic and, while his voice often showed signs of wear, it sometimes appeared to have regained the strength and vigor of old. It was certainly managed with the skill of an artist.

As Federico Mme. Sofia Scalchi had not a great deal to sing, but whatever she did accomplish made the same enthusiastic impression on the audience as on former occasions. A voice indeed she has, that moves along with the greatest of ease and is favored, especially in the alto range, with a peculiar mellow richness of quality and wealth of material. Signor Novara was a genuine success as Lotario. His singing in the beginning of the last act, as also in the final scene, was much appreciated. The other rôles were acceptably filled by Corsini who has a baritone voice of very agreeable quality, Contini, and Grazzi.



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