[Met Performance] CID:27880
Les Huguenots {97} Los Angeles, California: 11/9/1901.

(Review)


Los Angeles, California
Hazard's Pavilion
November 9, 1901
In Italian


LES HUGUENOTS {97}

Marguerite de Valois....Suzanne Adams
Raoul de Nangis.........Emilio De Marchi
Valentine...............Johanna Gadski
Count de Nevers.........Antonio Scotti
Urbain..................Louise Homer
Count de Saint Bris.....Marcel Journet
Marcel..................Edouard de Reszke
Tavannes................Albert Reiss
Cossé...................Roberto Vanni
Retz....................Lodovico Viviani
Méru....................not performed
Lady of Honor...........Mathilde Bauermeister
Lady of Honor...........Marie Van Cauteren
Bois-Rosé...............Jacques Bars
Maurevert...............Eugène Dufriche

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

Review of E. F. Kubel in the Los Angeles Herald

BRILLIANT ENDING OF THE OEPRA SEASON

'Les Huguenots' Given Last night With Splendid Cast

As the curtain sank last night on one of the most awing(?) and piteous scenes which human ingenuity has been able to arrange in mimic simulation, and with the echoes of one of the most tragically thrilling and heartbreaking of love scenes in the entire range of grand opera to the ear and eyes, it came home to the music-lovers of this city that the brilliant and inspiring season of the Grau Company had come to a close. It was all too short for the desire of many. Yet the types of the higher musical drama shown us have been deeply interesting, and the interpreters have been from those who rank highest as lyric artists in the world of today.

"Les Huguenots" is the opera of all others which has been most viciously assailed by the partisans of both the pure Italian and later Wagnerian schools, for its defiance of religious prejudice, its melodrama and its often meretricious music. But Meyerbeer who understood the Parisians among whom he lived, knowing well their weakness for the theatrical and gaudy, the melodramatic and the scenic, wrote for the French. They accepted him and he is, to this day, their greatest operatic composer, and "Les Huguenots" their finest grand opera. To the earnest musician there is much alloy of a most common sort with the gold of Meyerbeer. There is much talent in the make-up of the music of the opera in which theatrical display is the main end sought; yet there is, in the duet of the fourth act, which however, was eliminated last night, a divine inspiration which no composer has ever equaled in dramatic music. The music glows with an intense passionate warmth and so powerful and great is this scene that it has drawn from the reluctant Wagner himself the admission that Meyerbeer, who "could not give us a single proof of real creative power, is all at once capable of the richest, noblest and most soul-stirring musical expression."

Human passion runs riot in this opera; it grades from the tenderest love-sigh to the most terrible relentlessness of savage cruelty. The making use of a Lutheran hymn and a Catholic chant, in order to secure the sectarian color and contrast, naturally created intense resentment on all sides when the opera was first produced, but we have been educated to the understanding that Meyerbeer used these themes simply to secure theatrical effect, and that their extraneous religious significance weighed but little with him. He knew his Frenchmen. His aim was to bring down the house. And he did it.

In "Les Huguenots," which is a work based on the historical libretto, the dramatic expression is confined within definite limits. The people who move and perform in it are not fixed types, as is the case with the formulated characters of the Wagnerian music-drama, but the individual ideas and idiosyncrasies of the singers can be brought into play. So we have had various sorts of gentlemen in the character of Raoul, while of Valentines there has been an infinite variety of heroines.

Gadski's Ambition

Mme. Gadski is a singer who commends respect. She was trained in the Wagnerian school - so called - but being a diligent student and an ambitious singer, she has quite recently undertaken the Italian and French roles. She is credited with being an admirable Aida and last night we saw her in one of the favorite soprano roles of French grand opera, that of Valentine. Mme. Gadski appeals through her strong womanliness. The part of Valentine is one in which this trait counts for much. With this the artist possesses a voice of robust purity and timbre, which fits her admirably for heroic roles. In the great love duet she displayed her vocal quality in a manner that will not soon be forgotten by those who hear her.

A Brilliant Cast

Mr. Grau has an excellent find in De Marchi, a robust tenor of unusually pleasing vocal attributes. He supported Gadski in so satisfying a manner that he shared the honors of the evening with her. The fioriture of the opera falls mainly to the light soprano part that of the Queen, which was sung by Suzanne Adams in a brilliant way, and her liquid vocalization earned her an ovation. Hardly less pleasing was the singing of the page's song by Louise Homer, who gave it with splendid effect.

De Reszke sang the role of Marcel, in the artistic way for which he is noted, and the smaller parts, which were admirably filled by MM. Journet, Scotti, Bars and others, were notable for conscientious performance. The rhythmic music of the opera was well demonstrated by the entire company, and the public was far from niggard in showing its hearty appreciation at each of the numerous opportunities offered by the changing situation and the score.



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