[Met Performance] CID:25120
Don Giovanni {56} San Francisco, California: 11/20/1900.


San Francisco, California
November 20, 1900

Mozart-Da Ponte

Don Giovanni............Antonio Scotti
Donna Anna..............Lillian Nordica
Don Ottavio.............Thomas Salignac
Donna Elvira............Johanna Gadski
Leporello...............Edouard de Reszke
Zerlina.................Fritzi Scheff
Masetto.................Antonio Pini-Corsi
Commendatore............Marcel Journet

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

Director................William Parry

Don Giovanni received six performances this season.

Review of Blanche Partington in the San Francisco Call


Mozart's Quaint and Graceful Opera Exquisitely Rendered

Scotti, De Reszke, Nordica and Gadski Given Generous Applause for Highly Artistic Interpretations Last Night

It was quaint old "Don Giovanni" at the Grand Opera-house last night and, in spite of much weather of the rainy sort, a large house gathered to hear the delicate and graceful harmonies of Mozart.

In this opera, more surely than in any other still sung, one may judge of the vast stride that has been made in this form of art. One may hear, too, therein echoes of things lost, a fine simplicity of life, and elegance of leisure, an urbane and gentle air of days unhurried. It lacks entirely the strenuous, complex note, so characteristic of latter-day work, this product of the graceful childhood of the art, but its suave and facile movement, its sweet Old World cadences are still pleasing and grateful to the ear. But how strangely thin seems the orchestration, how lacking in tone-color - the world of music color was all but undiscovered in Mozart's days - how wanting in depth and height and breadth, and yet, withal, how charming!

Last night was a notable presentation of the opera. Don Giovanni - a character, by the way, as extinct as the dodo in modern opera land - was undertaken by Scotti, who has very apparently quite recovered from his indisposition. He gave us a good rendering of the sorry hero's role, singing his part in pleasurable fashion, and with just the right note of tender and sensuous insinuation. It lacked a little in bravado, impudence; there was not sufficient suggestion of the swashbuckling element, not less intimately associated with the Don Giovanni role than his over-gallant roguery. But 'twas a good conception, well sung and acted. The "La ci darem," charming as ever, was delightfully given.

Edouard de Reszke was amazingly well suited in the part of Leporello. He was, to the life, the supple, easy-conscience, loose-lived Italian knave, and his performance all through was an unctuous revel in the possibilities of the part. The famous "catalogue" song was given with a lavish richness of comic suggestion absolutely irresistible, and, it goes without saying, gloriously sung. Pini-Corsi was in charge of the minor buffooneries of Masetto, and gave a cleverly stupid, stubborn picture of the ill-used bumpkin. Salignac developed rather a weak and nasal tenor as Don Ottavio, and the Commendatore part was well sung by Journet.

The opera offers opportunity for the appearance of any three principal sopranos and last night Nordica, Gadski and Fritzi Scheff were heard in the respective parts. Nordica was heard as Donna Anna, and gave her invariably dignified conception of the role. She is in congenial atmosphere in the tragic part and sang last night with much grace and sweetness. Mme. Gadski was the Donna Elvira, and though not in quite so exquisite voice as usual, or perhaps in hardly so kindly air, she was eminently sweet and charming Elvira. Fritzi Scheff is a piquant, petite personage, and she sang a lightsome and fetching Zerlina, the village beauty. She was in stronger voice last night than on Monday evening, when she sang in "La Bohème," and possesses a very pleasing, clear, light soprano voice. Which reminds me, Mea culpa! Peccavi! And all the repentant rest of it. I must say, in that I unwittingly "dismembered" the former production of "La Bohème" in San Francisco, with Melba the Mimi, now many moons ago, and yesterday named this week's presentation as the second, not third, production of the pretty opera here. It goes without saying that had I heard Mme. Melba on the first occasion it would not have been so easily forgotten.

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