[Met Performance] CID:3170
Le Prophète {5} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/17/1884.

(Debut: Mr. Golding
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 17, 1884
In German


LE PROPHÈTE {5}
Meyerbeer-Scribe

Jean of Leyden..........Anton Schott
Berthe..................Marie Schröder-Hanfstängl
Fidès...................Marianne Brandt
Zacharie................Joseph Kögel
Jonas...................Otto Kemlitz
Mathisen................Joseph Miller
Count Oberthal..........Alkuir Blum
Peasant.................Emil Totzech
Peasant.................Joseph Witt
Officer.................Ludwig Wolf
Officer.................Martin Paché
Citizen.................Hermann Weber
Citizen.................Mr. Golding [Debut]
Dance...................Adèle Zollia
Dance...................Lucia Cormani
Dance...................Isolina Torri

Conductor...............Leopold Damrosch

Director................Wilhelm Hock
Set Designer............Charles Fox, Jr.
Set Designer............William Schaeffer
Set Designer............Gaspar Maeder
Set Designer............Mr. Thompson
Costume Designer........D. Ascoli
Costume Designer........Henry Dazian
Choreographer...........F. Baptiste Ceruti

Translation by unknown

Le Prophète received fourteen performances this season.

OPERA AT THE METROPOLITAN.

The representation of "Le Prophète" given at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening is to be accounted the most complete and impressive that has been witnessed in this city during the last 15 years. Meyerbeer's work has, in truth, had comparatively few performances within the memory of the present generation; it is not an opera that can be hastily brought out during the progress of a brief season, nor one that appeals to the masses like the picturesque "Huguenots" or the tuneful "Trovatore." The few renderings which have been listened to of late have been of slight importance, and the last time "Le Prophète" was sung, under the management of Mr. Abbey, the representation attracted little attention owing to the feebleness of Fides and the absolute incapacity of John of Leyden. Without comparing yesterday's production of "Le Prophète" with its immediate predecessor, it may be reasserted that of all the renderings of the opera remembered by youthful and even middle-aged lovers of music, it was incomparably the best. It was not, indeed, without slight blemishes. The singing of the Anabaptists was not always unimpeachably accurate in respect of intonation, the ballet was by no means as brilliant as it ought to have been, and the tendency of the conductor and artists to slacken the pace of the music was more than once injudiciously yielded to. But the worth of a representation that compels approval through an admirable Fides, a perfect Bertha, and an excellent John of Leyden, through an orchestra of uncommon proportions and unsurpassable efficiency, through a well drilled chorus, and through scenic attire of unusual appropriateness and beauty, is not likely to be seriously impaired by any trifling demerits, most of which, moreover, will probably have disappeared when the opera is up for repetition. The late hour at which the curtain fell upon the last scene makes it impossible to deal with it as minutely as could be wished. Midnight had struck when John of Leyden and his enemies perished in the flames of their palace. It should be chronicled that almost the whole audience - an enormous gathering, that filled the house from parquet to gallery - remained until the final scene; this record of fact will indicate with sufficient clearness the interest and effectiveness of the performance. "Le Prophète" is, of all Meyerbeer's achievements, the one with which the company of the Metropolitan is best fitted to cope. The influence of Italian composers is less perceptible in the opera than in "Robert" and "The Huguenots," and although "Le Prophète" suffers from no scarcity of melodious numbers, it is clear that Meyerbeer placed greater dependence upon the eloquence of lyric declamation, upon the theatrical effect of contrasted characters, and upon the symphonic richness of his instrumentation than upon the sensuous charm of a series of detached pieces. Hence the special aptitude of the artists now under engagement at the Metropolitan to the work assigned them last evening. Fräuleln Brandt's Fides, Frau Schroeder-Hanfstaengl's Bertha, and Herr Schott's John of Leyden were three personations remarkable alike for clearness and thoroughness of conception and for sincerity, force, and finish of presentation. If one of the three singers can be said to have surpassed the others, this very high praise should be awarded Fränlein Brandt. Her portrayal of Fides was equally good in a histrionic and in a lyric sense. Her first interview with John, in which her gratitude for her son's sacrifice of his betrothed finds utterance in the lovely "arioso" "Ah! mon fils" her pathetic appeal at the beginning of the fourth act, when asking alms in the streets of Münster, and the trying scene in the cathedral, when she first recognizes and then denies her son, were acted with infinite feeling and with a mastery of the methods of expression quite foreign to the exponents of Italian art. The music of the part, it should be added, lies well within the range of Fräulein Brandt's voice, and no atom of its charm was lost in her delivery of its measures. Frau Schroeder-Hanfetaengl sang Bertha's numbers with the facility and brilliancy characteristic of that gifted soprano's style. From a dramatic standpoint, the role of Bertha is rather thankless, for it is little better than a foil for Fides, but her music is effective, if not always appropriate. Herr Schott's commanding presence, earnest manner and forceful delivery stood him in good stead in the character of the Prophet. His narration of his dream was a study, and his scene with Fides in the cathedral a perfect specimen of quiet, intense, and powerful acting. More extended comment upon the performance must be reserved, however, for the present. The cathedral scene last night was particularly animated and showy, and was loudly applauded. As for the artists, they were called out twice or three times after each important incident or number.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).