[Met Performance] CID:30440
La Fille du Régiment {6}
Pagliacci {27}
Metropolitan Opera House: 01/5/1903.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 5, 1903


LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT {6}
Donizetti-Bayard/Saint-Georges

Marie.......................Marcella Sembrich
Tonio.......................Thomas Salignac
Marquise of Berkenfield.....Marie Van Cauteren
Sergeant Sulpice............Charles Gilibert
Hortentius..................Eugène Dufriche
Corporal....................Bernard Bégué

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

Director....................Fernand Almanz

La Fille du Régiment received ten performances this season.



PAGLIACCI {27}
Leoncavallo-Leoncavallo

Nedda.......................Fritzi Scheff
Canio.......................Albert Alvarez
Tonio.......................Antonio Scotti
Silvio......................Maurice Declery
Beppe.......................Albert Reiss

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

Director....................Fernand Almanz

Pagliacci received nine performances this season.

Unsigned review in the Post

MUSIC AND DRAMA
TWO ITALIAN OPERAS

Which of Donizetti's sixty-seven operas is the most popular at the present day? Not "Lucia" as is commonly supposed, but "The Daughter of the Regiment." Some years ago Max Friedlander issued a pamphlet containing accurate statistics of the works given in one season at all the German opera houses, "Lucia" had only 33 performances, while "The Daughter of the Regiment" had as many as 103, and that practically exhausted the list, for "Belisario" and "L'Elisir d'Amore" had 6 each, "Lucrezia Borgia" 3, "Don Pasquale," "Linda di Chamounix" and "La Favorita" only one each. No doubt the amusing libretto of "La Fille du Regiment" is partly responsible for this state of affairs; musically the opera is not superior if it is equal to "Lucia"; yet there is more great music in it than in most of Donizetti's operas, owing, in part to the fact that it was written for the Parisians, who were less easily satisfied than the Italians. Hasty work and over-production were the vices of Donizetti, for which he finally had to pay with insanity. Six decades ago composers used to shake operas out of their sleeves. It is related of Donizetti that when heard that Rossini had taken just two weeks to compose "The Barber of Seville" he exclaimed: "I am not surprised; I always thought he was a lazy fellow."

There is an obvious reason why "La Fille du Regiment" has been revived at the Metropolitan Opera House for the benefit of Mme. Sembrich. Her predecessors, Patti and Melba favored "Lucia" because they were not expert comedians-not, at any rate so expert as our Polish prima donna, to whom the part of Marie is admirably suited. She delighted a large audience last night with her amusing antics as well as with her polished cantilena and her brilliant fiorature, and was able assisted in the humorous parts by Mr. Salginac, Mr. Gilbert, and Mme. Van Cauteren as La Marquise. The French spoken dialogue was used and seemed to be generally understood for there was a good deal of laughter at the jokes. In place of the finale Mme. Semnbrich gave a waltz in the Vienna style - why not? Was not Donizetti for a time court composer in Vienna, where he was worshipped?

Donizetti's opera was followed last night by Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci," which in Europe is almost always given in connection with "Cavalleria Rusticana." Poor Mascagni! The horrid Americans are even separating these Siamese twins! Leoncavallo's opera is fifty-two years younger than "La Fille du Regiment," and yet it is far more antiquated. There is not much melody in Donizetti's opera - an average of one tune to every ten minutes; but most of the melodies are original and pretty. Leoncavallo lacks the faculty of creating individual melodies. He is a great apostle of the commonplace, and has a good memory. As attentive listener recognizes, in turn, Mascagni (passim), Meyerbeer, Wagner, Mozart, and - but as a German critic once wittily remarked, in speaking of Leoncavallo's music we must apply the "rechercher las paternite est interdite" of the code Napoleon.

The subject of Leoncavallo's opera is one of the yellowiest even in the realm of "veristic" opera. Whether this, or the desire to see Fritzi Scheff assume the role of Nedda, was the reason why the stockholders, for the first time this year, remained in their boxes till midnight and until the prima donna, after being stabbed, had rolled down the steps on to the stage, need not be impertinently inquired into. "De gustibus non est disputandum." Fritzi Scheff acted her part vivaciously, and her singing was acceptable. Mr. Alvarez was a vigorous and vengeful Canio, while in the Tonio few would have recognized the fine, manly Scotti had it not been for his voice, of which no disguise can hide the nobility.



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