[Met Performance] CID:24290
Don Giovanni {54} Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 04/18/1900.

(Review)


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
April 18, 1900


DON GIOVANNI {54}

Don Giovanni............Antonio Scotti
Donna Anna..............Lillian Nordica
Don Ottavio.............Andreas Dippel
Donna Elvira............Clémentine De Vere
Leporello...............Edouard de Reszke
Zerlina.................Marcella Sembrich
Masetto.................Antonio Pini-Corsi
Commendatore............Lempriere Pringle

Conductor...............Enrico Bevignani

Review of Willa Cather in the Pittsburgh Courier

From the enthusiasm of the audience and the frequent recalls I am led to believe that Mozart's "Don Giovanni" was more pleasing to the people than any other opera given here. Now this is a trifle perplexing as Mozart is supposed to be the musician's composer, just as Keats is the poet's poet. It would be interesting to know whether it was the limpid melody or the touch of "opera buffo" that delighted the general public. Wagnerian enthusiasts of course find that uninterrupted flow of pure melody monotonous and almost exasperating. Having become acclimated to the wild gorges of "The Valkyrie" and the storm-swept sea of "The Flying Dutchman," they soon weary of this Mozart who is forever leading them among the same green fields and by identical still waters. Not that there is anything similar in the melodies themselves, certainly, but the pitch, the intensity, is always the same, and all these entrancing arias, duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, in which everybody sings different words to the same air, totally destroying the possibility of any dramatic significance, what of it all, Pourquoi ? say the Wagnerists. What are all these airs about, where is the dramatic coherency, who cares about the woes of weeping ladies who trail about the country roads in party dresses and about the soprano who sings trills over her murdered father's body? Why is all this melody wasted upon a plot insincere, grotesque and trivial; why is it not given direction and purpose and made to tell something of human experience and human passion ? This is all because that malicious man Wagner has stung the palate so that all other styles seem insipid, and it recalls the story of the South Sea islanders who, having tasted the champagne in the hold of a wreck, threw their wholesome native drinks into the sea and proceeded to abuse their gods because the rivers did not run champagne. It is simply a question of whether the incomparable melody of Mozart does or does not compensate you for the naive artifice of his plots....



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