[Met Performance] CID:25460
Aida {56} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/22/1900.

(Debut: Minnie Tracy

Metropolitan Opera House
December 22, 1900

AIDA {56}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Minnie Tracy [Debut and Only performance]
Radamès.................Georges Imbart de la Tour
Amneris.................Louise Homer
Amonasro................Antonio Scotti
Ramfis..................Marcel Journet
King....................Adolph Mühlmann
Messenger...............Aristide Masiero
Priestess...............Mathilde Bauermeister

Conductor...............Philippe Flon

Unsigned review in the Morning Telegraph


Appears in Title Role of Verdi's 'Aida'


She Now Considers That Her Proportions Have Been Fully Vindicated

Minnie Tracey appeared last night upon the stage from which she was banished some weeks ago by Henry W. Savage, who considered her figure so ample, not to say abundant, she was unfitted for the serious work of his English grand opera company.

Maurice Grau it was who gave her a chance to sing in the Metropolitan once more, and Miss Tracey considers this full vindication of her proportions. Mr. Grau put her forward in the title role of Verdi's "Aida." That he did so only after Susan Strong, who had been advertised to impersonate the daughter of the King of Ethiopia, had sent word she was in the clutches of that bane of opera singers - an "indisposition," whatever that may be - does not argue in Miss Tracey's mind against her construction of the impresario having sent for her.

She Was Very Nervous

It was a momentous evening for Miss Tracey, and a trying, which facts were quite apparent at her entrance and by her singing throughout the first act. She was more than nervous - almost frightened - and the cordial applause with which she was greeted did not restore herself possession. Her first tones were quite clouded, nearly imperceptible and it was in vain that she attempted to make them resonant. Her "Ritorna Vincitor," sung as Radames is setting out to war against her people, hardly got over the footlights, though her facial expression and manner argued that she realized the dramatic and vocal possibilities of the number.

More Herself in Second Act

In the second act she was more herself and as the opera wore on it was easy to see why she had been retained several successive years as one of the leading sopranos of the opera in Nice and Geneva.

In the duo with Anmeris her tones were clear and sweet, and in that with Amonasro it displayed carrying power and resonancy. Her voice is not big and has hardly enough roundness to put her in the front rank. She uses it with ease and precision, being true to pitch and holding sustained phrases well.

As to her figure, it must be said that she has one of which no woman will envy her the possession. It is short and thick, and does not look like a trim yacht on a clear sea as she progresses across the stage. Were she taller it would be more sightly, and it would improve matters did she understand the art of costuming. Corseted like a woman proud of an eighteen inch waist, her hips bulged out behind like an enormous bustle.

Should Dress Differently

As a matter of truth Miss Tracey weighs no more than Susan Strong or Mme. Nordica, and if she would take lessons from them what clothes to put on and how to wear them, she would be saved such humiliating incidents as the little interview with Mr. Savage.

Miss Tracey's shortcomings were accentuated because of the beauty of Louise Homer, the Amneris of last night. Miss Homer in features, form and grace is one of the handsomest women seen here in many seasons. She is an artiste at figure drapery and color selection, all of which militated against Miss Tracey in her second debut. Besides personal charm, Miss Homer has an unusually good contralto voice, a little shrill in the upper register, but mellow lower in the scale and of wide range and volume. She is also an actress of intelligence and skill, making at once a most alluring and melodious schemer for the hand of Radames.

It was quite difficult to get into the illusion when that hero scorned Amneris and went into raptures over Aida. Miss Homer is from Pittsburg, though her musical education was received abroad. Her American debut - such her appearance last night was - was more than successful.

Two Other New Singers

Two other new singers were introduced. Imbart de La Tour, as Radames, and Marcel Journet, as Ramfis. De La Tour's tenor voice is of good quality and fair volume. He has as good a presence as Latin tenors usually boast of. He was acceptable as Radames but drew forth no bravos.

Journet's bass is better. It is strong and mellow and he sends forth a good volume of sound without forcing. Scotti made his reappearance as Amonasro. His barytone is too well known to need extended mention here. It has not deteriorated since last heard, and the singer's acting is even better than before.

M. Flon, a new conductor, wielded the baton with effect. He knit the chorus more together than did his predecessors of the work. The chorus of priestesses sang the chant to Ptah beautifully. The ballet was unusually precise and graceful.

Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Times

Last night the opera was Verdi's "Aida" which was sung to a disheartening array of empty chairs. The performance served to introduce several new-comers. Miss Susan Strong was to have sung the title role, but owing to her illness Miss Minnie Tracey, lately a member of the English company, sang the part. Her performance was commendable, but by no means striking. M. Imbart de la Tour, the Radames, proved to be a French tenor of a type familiar, but not usually popular here. He displayed a voice of good quality and sufficient body, quite despoiled of its rightful effect by a very vicious method. M. de la Tour is one of those gentlemen who place their tones as far back as possible, and tauten the muscles of the throat, producing the quality known to some as white, and to others as throaty. This quality of tone is not beautiful, and it cannot touch the heart of the musical hearer; it assaults only his nerves. It might seem charitable to wait till M. de la Tour sings again before saying so much about him; but his method is fundamentally bad, not the result of any temporary cause. At least, he may be praised for singing in tune. As an actor he proved to be conventional and without individuality. His high tones won him some applause.

The Amneris was Mme. Louise Homer, another new member of the company. This lady disclosed a rather hard voice of plentiful volume and sufficient compass. Her tones were not as steady as might have been desired, yet the vibrato was not sufficient to injure her intonation. She sang in tune and with generally good judgment in her phrasing. She did not seem to be gifted with much temperament, but possibly the lack of mellowness in her voice may have been accountable for this impression. M. Journet, a new basso, made his debut as Ramfis, the high priest. This singer made known a voice of excellent quality, smooth, sonorous, extensive, and well placed. His singing was not impressive in style, but in conventional bass parts he should prove to be a useful member of the company.

Mr. Scotti reappeared as Amonasro. He was in fine voice, and sang and acted with his usual fire. He is a true artist, and his favor here is thoroughly deserved. Mr. Muhlmann was the King. M. Flon, a French conductor, well known at Covent Garden, but new to this city, directed the performance capably but without individuality. The opera was mounted with the familiar trappings, and the trumpets of Egypt chortled, as usual, stridently and a little off the key in the case of those in B.

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