[Met Performance] CID:27900
Les Huguenots {98} San Francisco, California: 11/12/1901.

(Review)


San Francisco, California
Grand Opera House
November 12, 1901
In Italian


LES HUGUENOTS {98}

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 Blanche Partington in the San Francisco Call

'LES HUGUENOTS' IS WELL RENDERED BY GRAU'S TALENTED OPERA SINGERS

The ponderous splendors of "Gil Ugonotti," even with the in most part excellent cast afforded it by Mr. Grau last night, did not serve to fill the Grand Opera house as Eames and "Lohengrin" filled it on Monday evening. The disappointment of the Calvé Carmen naturally counted here, but there were not a few empty seats around the edges of the house and there was a general air of "lights fled and garlands dead" about things. The enthusiasts were resting after their tremendous efforts of the night before and, though there was spasmodic magnificence about the performance, it must be conceded that, as a whole, it was not one to create a wild enthusiasm. The chorus fell distinctly short, both in quality and volume of tone, even the favorite song hardly getting a hand. It lacked spirit, swing, for the most part, though there were a few moving climaxes that lifted things choral to where they should be. Neither was the orchestra quite the same instrument in Mr. Flon's hands as that from which Mr. Damrosch drew such satisfying harmonies on Monday night, lacking a little the swift certainty of response, the magic obedience to the Damrosch baton. Neither is "The Huguenots" Wagner, for the matter of that. Still there is much that is genuinely beautiful in the opera, gloomy grandeur and pageantries of sound, the love music of Valentine and Raoul, the passing splendor of "The Consecration of the Swords" and other numbers that will linger when even the brilliant cast that now makes "The Huguenots" a possibility on a distinguished programme shall no longer have that power.

Scribe was not at his clearest when he furnished the plot for "Gli Ugonotti." As often as one hears the opera just so often is it necessary to get the libretto to untangle the plot, to know who is doing what and why. The explanatory demon is at his busiest during its progress, nothing save a Bernhardt drama offering him so rich opportunity, it was not difficult to disentangle Scotti from the crowd of nobles that appear in the [first] scene. Nor De Reszke, but the new tenor could not be so easily distinguished - by ear. De Marchi does not quite fulfill expectations as he was heard last night. So much was expected, however, that it is perhaps not surprising that he fell some what short. His voice lacks smoothness, roundness, though one big full high note - that the house rose to, by the way - gave indication that Signor de Marchi was perhaps not in best form. He lacks strength dramatically, but is a pleasing figure in the picture.

The plaudits last evening were mostly for Gadski, the well-beloved of San Francisco, who sang the part of Valentine. It is a dear and beautiful note that Gadski touches. She has an eminently tender, human, woody-sweet voice, and her gentle graciousness lifts every part she sings to an exquisite distinction. She has power, too, and restraint, and gave last night a Valentine that, while it lacked the brilliance of Nordica's, had yet a quality more lovable in its tenderness. Mine. Gadski was not long suffered to remain in ignorance of what the audience thought of her, being greeted immediately on her appearance with applause of the heartiest. She seems to be in excellent health, and will be heard again on Friday evening in "Die Walküre"

Scotti was magnificent as the Comte de Nevers. Ye gods, but how the fellow can sing! He is aflame with inspiration and voiced like an Israeli who has turned his attention to opera instead of oratorio. The Comte de Nevers is a small part, true, but for sheer vocal and dramatic weight it overpowered everything in sight save de Reszke's Marcel, and that was not always safe from comparison, either. De Resske's Marcel is one of his numberless magnificences, and he used that big abounding basso of his in soul-satisfying fashion last night. It remains only to speak of Suzanne Adams, who slipped into our hearts last year just as she was leaving, in "Rigoletto," and Mr. Journet, who was not quite Plançon, as Saint Bris.

Miss Adams has matured in her art since her last visit here. Her voice has rounded, sweetened and gained poise, and her Marguerite di Valois evidences altogether a remarkable progress on the young artist's part since last year. She is still self-conscious, a little stiff in movement, but there's every hope for the bright young American. Louise Homer's bright voice and smile were excellently used in the part of Urbain.

Tonight Sembrich, whose San Francisco season was cut off in so untimely fashion last year, returns to delight in "La Traviata."



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