[Met Performance] CID:2430
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Roméo et Juliette {1} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 04/16/1884.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
April 16, 1884
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In Italian


ROMÉO ET JULIETTE {1}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Roméo...................Italo Campanini
Juliette................Marcella Sembrich
Frère Laurent...........Giovanni Mirabella
Stéphano................Louise Lablache [Last performance]
Mercutio................Giuseppe Del Puente
Benvolio................Amadeo Grazzi
Gertrude................Emily Lablache
Capulet.................Achille Augier [Last performance]
Tybalt..................Nicola Stagi
Pâris...................Ludovico Contini
Grégorio................Baldassare Corsini
Duke of Verona..........Pietro Mascotti

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

Roméo et Juliette received one performance in Italian this season

Alternate titles: Romeo and Juliet; Romeo e Giulietta.

Review in the Philadelphia Press:

ITALIAN OPERA.

First Performance by Mr. Abbey's Company of "Romeo e Giulietta."

Gounod's opera "Romeo e Giulietta," which stands next below his "Faust" was announced and was performed at the Academy of Music last night. From the fact that it was twice withdrawn in New York, owing to the insufficient preparation and, curiously enough, from the very fact that extraordinary pains were taken to give it a suitable presentation, the rumor of the substitution of another opera was widely credited. The performance was, notwithstanding, very successful.

"Romeo e Giulietta" is not an opera which is likely to appeal to the majority of hearers. The play itself is a sadly amusing travesty of Shakespeare, quite worthy of the genius who translated "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" into idiomatic French. The libretto follows the plot of "Romeo and Juliet" in some places quite closely, in others it deviates from it by the fatal hair's breadth which separates the sublime from the ridiculous. There are not a great number of memorable arias, but the orchestration throughout is delightful. Even without the vocal part, much of it would be interesting and would repay careful study. As a whole, however, the opera is, perhaps too somber and "triste" for the general taste, but the performance last evening was in many respects one to be remembered.

Madame Sembrich was a charming Giulietta, graceful, sympathetic and lovely. In the first act she sang the aritetta valse "Nelle calma d'un bel sorriso," the counterpart to the "Faust Valse," with perfect expression. Her phrasing was admirable and her upper notes were as clear-cut and sparkling as diamonds. It was the most successful piece of the performance. She was warmly applauded, but declined to grant a repetition. In the balcony scene she was also very tender and yet never too sentimental. The recitatives in the latter part were not so well suited to Madame Sembrich, who needs the stimulus of a well defined and intricate melody to show all the wonderful brilliancy of her voice. Signor Campanini was in rather better voice than on Monday, but he was still very hoarse and sang often raspingly off pitch. The duet in the parting scene with Madame Sembrich was almost ruined by this tunelessness and his arias, "Angiol che vesti" and "Deh Sorgi o Luce" were not very successful. Signor Del Puente was, as usual, thoroughly to be depended upon, and sang the beautiful "ballad of Queen Mab" with excellent effect. Mademoiselle Lablache was overweighed by her part, but sang bravely. The other members of the cast did fairly well. The chorus was effective and the orchestra played well, under the direction of Signor Vianesi. Madame Sembrich was several times called before the curtain, but the audience was far from enthusiastic.



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