[Met Performance] CID:31040
Aida {83} Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/26/1903.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
February 26, 1903

AIDA {83}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Johanna Gadski
Radamès.................Albert Alvarez
Amneris.................Louise Homer
Amonasro................Antonio Scotti
Ramfis..................Marcel Journet
King....................Adolph Mühlmann
Messenger...............Roberto Vanni
Priestess...............Marguerite Marilly

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

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)



"Aida," adequately presented, holds its place unfailingly among the great master works of all time and last night's presentation, in its general strength and effectiveness, was the most successful performance of Italian opera that has been given this season. It was dominated by the martial Rhadames of Alvarez, heroic alike in appearance and bearing and in dramatic and musical expression, In appearance this Egyptian warrior is much like the Moorish Othello, but the likeness is not otherwise suggested except in his soldierly sentiment and in his intensity of passion. The part is pitched upon an heroic key from the first. Even the "Celeste Aida" is no mere sentimental love song, but the passionate outpouring of a strong man's longing, and he carries this martial bearing throughout the opera, singing with a wonderful amplitude and richness of voice and in the climax by the river side rising to a tremendous emotional power.

Ssotti's Amonasro is another distinct figure. It has not the usual barbaric ferocity, but a weird sort of Oriental fatalism, tragic rather than merely melodramatic. This is suggested in the costume, in the action, in the musical treatment of the part. Both of these men sang superbly, but the purely lyric expression was molded to its dramatic purpose. Musically, the trio was completed by Gadski's pure, clear, telling voice. She has never sung Aida better and, within certain obvious limits, we need not ask to have this wonderful music better sung. But she gives it no dramatic significance, no depth of emotion, no refinement of poetry, no particular individuality. She is just a good, trustworthy prima donna doing her work with admirable taste and skill, but with no temperamental adaptability to one of the very great roles of the lyric drama.

Madame Homer sang Amneris, if not with the freshness of voice that flrst was her recognition in this part, with not less of intelligence, firmness and sound musical feeling. Journet was dignified and effective in the fine bass part and the whole cast held together uncommonly well. The sextette went finely and it was here especially that the value of Gadskl's fine ringing notes was felt. Still greater life might have been given to the ensemble by a conductor with more enthusiasm than Flon who contributed little more than a perfunctory direction; but this is music that, with so strong a body of singers, will almost go of itself.

The setting for "Aida" is one of the best in the Academy's stock, and the opera was quite richly costumed, and was given with sufficient pictorial effect, with the complete ballet and other features that, if secondary, are important to the whole impression. The audience was large and, though not remarkably responsive, was warmed to enthusiasm at each climax of the opera. The performance on next Tuesday will be of "Tristan und Isolde "

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