[Met Performance] CID:24120
Faust {170} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/2/1900.


Metropolitan Opera House
April 2, 1900

FAUST {170}

Faust...................Ernest Van Dyck
Marguerite..............Marcella Sembrich
Méphistophélès..........Edouard de Reszke
Valentin................Antonio Scotti
Siebel..................Eugenia Mantelli
Marthe..................Mathilde Bauermeister
Wagner..................Theodore Meux

Conductor...............Luigi Mancinelli

Review (unsigned) in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle



Mr. Grau is certainly a wonderful impresario. When, last evening at the Metropolitan Opera House, Manhattan, Mme. Calvé failed to appear in the final performance of the season of "Faust," instead of stuffing in some second-rate singers as a makeshift, what does the manager do, in spite of a rather small house, but give the public Mme. Sembrich! Sembrich is not only as fully as great an artist as Calvé, as a singer even greater, but in the character of Marguerite, on this side of the ocean, she is a novelty and, properly advertised, her premiere in this opera would have proved a drawing card. As it was, she found herself obliged to take only what Calvé had left - the rather nondescript audience of the first night of the supplemental season, but an audience that at least did not "sit on its hands." There was perhaps a touch of crudity in the way the continuity of the scenes was frequently broken up by applause as exuberant as it was sincere, but ill-timed applause is not, after all, the worst thing that a public singer has to endure. Mme. Sembrich's Marguerite, while not noticeably original, was nevertheless most artistic. It proved a sweet, tender, delicate impersonation, developing a touch of hysteria after the terrible scene of Valentine's death, and rising to a fine exaltation in the grand prison finale. She looked very young and lovely, in costumes just a bit too modish, and she sang as well as could be expected, considering that she was fairly flung into the part. It was quite easy to perceive that, after the unconventional and striking performance of Calvé, Mme. Sembrich is by far the best now possible at the opera house. Vocally she is, of course, quite impeccable in everything she undertakes. Last night she was evidently a little embarrassed, at times, by Van Dyck's singing so constantly off the key, but, allowing for these and a few other things, she proved quite as wonderful a Marguerite as Lucia or Rosina or Susanna or Queen of the Night. Van Dyck's persistently bad singing, in a role which needs the smoothness of lyrical effects, possibly blinded one to a very sincere and successful attempt to give the part of Faust more than the ordinary dramatic strength. In action, particularly in the garden and prison scenes, there was a tenderness and dignity, a positive depth of feeling, which should not be overlooked. His costumes also, though odd, were historically correct, and quite in keeping with the play. Altogether, it was an interesting performance, though vocally, except for a few high notes, of pure tenor quality, hard on the ear. M. E. de Reszke was in splendid voice, and made the part of Mephistopheles fairly glow - his great bass is in far better condition than last year; indeed it seemed never more large, open and melodious than last evening. His costume was superb, a mantle in the first act surpassing anything of the kind ever seen here in this character. There was a first-class Valentin also, Scotti, an artist both forceful and fine, and fortunately thoroughly appreciated, both by critics and public. Mantelli was the Siebel and Mlle. Bauermeister, the Marta. It is always a delight for Brookynites to hear "Faust" at the Metropolitan, if only for the scenery, after the crudeness and inadequacy of our Academy. The garden scene was beautifully set and lighted, and full of poetic suggestion. Mancinelli conducted. The unexpected employment of Mme. Sembrich last night has involved a rearrangement of Herr von Schuch's concert tonight. Sembrich will not sing, being replaced by Plançon. But, of course, in any event, it is Herr von Schuch who is the attraction - one of the greatest conductors in Germany.

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