[Met Performance] CID:2410
Les Huguenots {3} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 04/14/1884.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
April 14, 1884
In Italian


LES HUGUENOTS {3}

Marguerite de Valois....Marcella Sembrich
Raoul de Nangis.........Italo Campanini
Valentine...............Christine Nilsson
Count de Nevers.........Giuseppe Del Puente
Urbain..................Sofia Scalchi
Count de Saint Bris.....Giuseppe Kaschmann
Marcel..................Giovanni Mirabella
Tavannes................Amadeo Grazzi
Méru....................Baldassare Corsini
Lady of Honor...........Miss Alberti [Last performance]
Bois-Rosé...............Nicola Stagi

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


Review in the Philadelphia Press

THE THEATRES

Nilsson and Scalchi in "The Huguenots."

The increase in the scale of prices for the [first] performance of Mr. Henry E. Abbey's Opera Company, last evening, did not prevent the gathering of a large audience, though it was fairly restricted to the seating capacity of the Academy of Music. Those who paid $6 for their tickets must have felt that they got their money's worth. For not only did they hear an opera of almost interminable length, but they heard its principal roles sung by at least six of Mr. Abbey's strongest artists, so that there was no complaint possible in regard to the evils of the star system. Meyerbeer's 'Huguenots" is a great opera. It has many very beautiful and very dramatic scenes, while at the same time its scoring is wonderful for its variety and character. It constantly grows better as the grand denouement of the massacre approaches, and the conscientious listener who remains till the last is fully repaid. Yet the opera, in spite of its greatness and beauty, is so weighted by dull scenes, some of which scarcely help along the story but only spread it out into detail, that it cannot be considered strange if it is seldom presented and only partially enjoyed.

Madame Sembrich, whose comparatively small, but brilliant, part is confined, practically, to the first act, was in excellent voice and won the warmest applause that was evoked during the performance. Her rendering of "A questa voce sola," though it might, perhaps, be criticized as over-loaded with vocal ornamentation, was an exquisite piece of clean-cut singing, and her grill on his C sharp and her bravura ending fairly brought down the house. Madame Sembrich is a very graceful and attractive woman upon the stage and, though the part of Margherita is not so well suited to her as Lucia, she only added to the charming impression which her former appearance created. Madame Nilsson was extremely dramatic and sang with fine effect all through the second and third acts. Her duets with Marcel and Raoul lacked perfection only from the shortcomings of the gentlemen. It is an admirable part for Madame Nilsson and she was always gracious and womanly. Madame Scalchi took the part of the page Urbano. Her voice never sounded richer or more thrilling, and her singing of "Nobil Donna" was so warmly applauded that she was constrained to repeat it, and the second time she sang it even better. Little that is favorable can be said of the gentlemen who took the leading roles. Signor Campanini was so hoarse that only with the greatest difficulty could he reach a high note, and all music had vanished from his voice. He warmed a little in the third act, but the improvement was only momentary. Signor Mirabella was simply atrocious as Marcel. Signor Del Puente was, as always, faithful and successful, and Signor Kachmann was fair. The chorus sang with spirit and the "Conjuration of the Swords" was given with great gusto. The incidental divertissement of the ballet was ludicrously inadequate and approached, in one scene at least, vulgarity, since there was no act to compensate.



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