[Met Performance] CID:28920
Otello {17} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/10/1902.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 10, 1902


OTELLO {17}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Albert Alvarez
Desdemona...............Emma Eames
Iago....................Antonio Scotti
Emilia..................Louise Homer
Cassio..................Jacques Bars
Lodovico................Marcel Journet
Herald..................Lodovico Viviani
Montàno.................Eugène Dufriche
Roderigo................Roberto Vanni
Herald..................Lodovico Viviani

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

Review (unsigned) in The New York Times

"OTELLO" AT THE OPERA.

Verdi's "Otello" was repeated last night at the Metropolitan Opera House. As is usually the case when this intensely dramatic and highly wrought work is presented, the audience was chiefly in the lower part of the house. The galleries were not filled, and there were many empty seats even in the dress circle. The orchestra was nearly full, and the occupants of the boxes were present. Discussion of the causes which militate against the popularity of "Otello" is futile; the fact remains - and facts are obstinate things - that the public has no taste for the sombre and portentous figure which occupies the centre of the stage and the story. Desdemona is not raised to sufficient importance in the popular estimation. She has no arias, she has only one duet with Otello, and that is at the very outset; There is too little sentiment. too much tragedy. The artistic value of the work counts for little in the face of these facts.

Last night's performance did not differ in any essential respect from its predecessor. The cast was the same; the conceptions of the parts were the same; the purpose which animated the entire interpretation was the same. M. Alvarez was in poor voice. Every attempt to diminish tone on his part revealed a hoarseness. Nevertheless, the fire and vigor of his performance were admirable. He declaimed the text with force and acted with emotional significance. Mr. Scotti was again a splendid Iago. In expression of the malignity of the treacherous man Mr. Scotti leaves nothing to be desired. Nor does his impersonation wholly lack subtlety. In the narration of Cassio's dream, for instance, he displays much finesse. But he is too often overcome by the temptation to roar so as to affright the ladies. It is a pity that at such times he cannot hear himself as others hear him.

Mme. Eames's Desdemona is one of her best parts. She looks it to perfection and sings the music with exquisite taste. The rôle lies well within the scope of her temperament, and she fills the poetic requirements, which are not burdensome. "Otello" is substantially a three-part opera. Cassio is a mere peg on which to hang a plot, and Emilia is used only to bring matters to an end. Mr. Bars and Mme. Homer served their purposes. The orchestra did its work fairly last night, and Mr. Sepilli conducted with skill.




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