[Met Performance] CID:2300
Robert le Diable {6} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/28/1884.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 28, 1884
In Italian


ROBERT LE DIABLE {6}

Robert..................Roberto Stagno
Isabelle................Alwina Valleria
Bertram.................Giovanni Mirabella
Alice...................Emmy Fursch-Madi
Raimbaut................Nicola Stagi
Herald..................Vincenzo Fornaris
Abbess..................Malvina Cavalazzi
Lady....................not performed
Cavalier................not performed
Dance...................Malvina Cavalazzi

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

Review in The New York Times:

ITALIAN OPERA - ROBERT THE DEVIL

The lesson of the four performances of Meyerbeer's operas which have taken place at the Metropolitan Opera House within ten days would seem to be that while the popular favor enjoyed by "The Huguenots" and "The Prophet" is greater than that of any of the operas in Mr. Abbey's list except "Lohengrin" and "Don Giovanni," the popularity of "Robert The Devil" is in much smaller degree. This opera was given for the third time since the new establishment was opened last night, and the audience was far from numerous. We are inclined to look for an explanation of the fact to the list of performers rather than to the score of the opera. According to the arrangement of the programme Sig. Stagno is "starred" in this piece, and a succession of occurrences recently have shown that the spell which early in the season seemed to be exercised by his occasional vocal explosions has worn off. In view of the fact that it was stimulated largely the vehement efforts of a lot of Italian restaurant waiters, and that at best it showed but a sorry taste, the disappearance of the Stagno curse is a subject for congratulation. We can only regret that the change of heart did not occur earlier, for it is plain that if sound artistic effort had been insisted upon in the case of this tenor from the beginning, something approaching it might have been got from him. His gifts are far from mean and most of the traits in his singing which have fallen under condemnation have been the products of a vicious taste and self-conceit which were encouraged by the applause lavished upon his high notes. That he has a good voice, and that he can sing acceptably, he showed in the last two acts of "The Prophet" last week.

Nature seems, however, to have denied to Sig. Stagno the most ordinary graces and powers of an actor, and this fact has obstructed his success in the very opera put on the stage for his benefit - "Robert The Devil." It calls for an exercise of patience to sit out his wooden performance during the incantation scene, and one's only resort, if he would preserve his temper, is to regard only the graceful motions of Mme. Cavalazzi, and, as far as possible, shut the ligneous Robert out of the field of vision. Fortunately for the success of the scene Mme. Cavalazzi's dancing and pantomime were so beautiful that to keep one's eyes on her did not exact a sacrifice but on the contrary brought an exceedingly handsome reward. Her art made the scene in the ruined cloister the chief scene of the performance.

Of the other performers the greatest meed of praise is due Mme. Fursch-Madi, who was the Alice of the occasion. Hardly another member of the company has given so few occasions for disappointment as Mme. Fursch-Madi. Her voice is always adequate in power, and generally true to the pitch except when forded by notes beyond her easy reach as, for instance, those occurring in "Vane, vane," her first air in "Robert." She has besides a whole-hearted manner of singing, and a free-chested style of emitting her tones which inspires one with confidence that so far as she is concerned all will go well. Her dramatic action, though not extensive in scope, is always good; while in such parts as Ortrud, in "Lohengrin" it is thoroughly admirable. She was last night, as before, an Alice who gave real pleasure. Mme. Valleria's Isabella is the Isabella of the opera. Dramatically it is without distinctive physiognomy, and for its vocal requirements she has right equipment. It is not her habit to stint her efforts to please, and she did not do it last night. A cold obviously embarrassed Signor Mirabella in his performance of Bertram, which was nevertheless satisfactory on the whole. Signor Stagi was the Raimbaud. The opera was rather ruthlessly cut.



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