[Met Performance] CID:27910
La Traviata {35} San Francisco, California: 11/13/1901.


San Francisco, California
Grand Opera House
November 13, 1901

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Marcella Sembrich
Alfredo.................Thomas Salignac
Germont.................Giuseppe Campanari
Flora...................Marie Van Cauteren
Gastone.................Roberto Vanni
Baron Douphol...........Jacques Bars
Marquis D'Obigny........Eugène Dufriche
Dr. Grenvil.............Charles Gilibert
Annina..................Mathilde Bauermeister

Conductor...............Armondo Seppilli

Front page of the San Francisco Call Review (unsigned) probably Blanche Partington


Since Days of Patti No Such Singing Listened to Here

An Enthusiastic Scene Is Witnessed in the Opera House

After hearing the exquisite singing of Madame Sembrich in the Verdi creation, "La Traviata," last evening it is no exaggeration to say that the artistic work of the diva stamps her as the greatest singer in the world. Not since the days when Adelina Patti filled the Grand Opera-house to its capacity has any such vocalization been heard in San Francisco as was listened to last night by those who attended the third night of the Grau season.

San Francisco must indeed be behind the times when it rewards an artist of Madame Sembrich's standing with a house little more than half filled. Just why the elite of this city should signal out a few evenings of the season and allow the other performances to be "off nights" is incomprehensible. If the grand opera performances are to be judged entirely on their merits, then the vast audience that gathered on the first night of the season to hear "Lohengrin" should have been duplicated last night. If San Francisco really wants grand opera as presented in the capitals of the world, it must do better than it has done in the past two nights in the matter of attendance.

Many Empty Seats Seen

"Lohengrin" on Monday night was grand, but "La Traviata" last evening was essentially great. Those who attended the performance of "La Traviata" did so because they are lovers of music. They came early and did not disturb their neighbors by proceeding to their seats while the opera was in progress.

There was little of the first night glitter in the Grand Opera-house when Madame Sembrich stepped on the stage in the role of the luckless Violetta. There were many handsome gowns in the audience, but the red plush of empty seats in the boxes, orchestra and dress circle must be considered a reproach to those who should have occupied the seats. Even the curious of the masses who gathered in front of the opera-house on Monday night to watch the guests arrive where not as numerous last night, and the police had but little trouble in keeping a clear passage for carriages.

The representatives of society who were at the opera last night came to listen and enjoy the performance. Not a note of Verdi's charming creation was missed. There was no subdued conversation during the acts, and the desire to see who was present was reserved for the intermissions. Mme. Sembrich held her audience as if spellbound and society small talk was a second consideration.

Sembrich Wins a Triumph

The scene of enthusiasm that greeted the diva at the end of the first act was remarkable for its intensity. Men and women rose from their seats and shouted applause at the smiling and bowing singer. Again and again was the curtain raised, but the plaudits increased in volume. The duet ""Follie, sempre libera degg'io," had touched all hearts, and every nerve in the audience was strained to the limit.

For the fifth time Sembrich was called to the stage, but the applause would not cease. Good-naturedly, the diva broke all traditions of grand opera and once again the audience listened to the angelic voice of the singer. Sembrich, who last season was obliged to terminate her engagement in the city owing to illness, is not likely to forget her reception of last night, nor will there be any empty seats when she sings on Saturday afternoon in "Faust."

The balance of the cast of "Traviata" presented no new faces last night. Salignac has been heard here before with Melba, and he is one of the dramatic tenors whom Grau prizes. He shared honors with Sembrich and was accorded considerable applause. Campanari was in fine voice, and the work of the chorus and orchestra was faultless. Seppilli handled the orchestra in skillful manner and, with the soloists, received due reward of applause.

Enjoyed a Musical Feast

All in all, last night's performance of "Traviata" was one of the best heard in San Francisco in twenty years. Those who heard it enjoyed a musical feast, while those who should have listened to it will regret their absence when they hear of it from their friends.

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