[Met Performance] CID:32910
Faust {215} Matinee ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/18/1904.

(Debut: Aïno Ackté
Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 18, 1904 Matinee


FAUST {215}

Faust...................Franz Navál
Marguerite..............Aïno Ackté [Debut]
Méphistophélès..........Pol Plançon
Valentin................Antonio Scotti
Siebel..................Edyth Walker
Marthe..................Mathilde Bauermeister
Wagner..................Eugène Dufriche

Conductor...............Gustav Hinrichs

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)

GOUNOD'S 'FAUST'

The First Appearance of Ackté and Naval in Yesterday's Opera

A generally competent, but not particularly distinguished, performance of "Faust" was given at the Academy of Music yesterday afternoon to an audience that nearly filled the house, except in the upper part. It was a pleasure to welcome Mr. Hinrichs in the conductor's chair, after a long absence from Philadelphian. He has conducted "Faust" here so many scores of times, under such various conditions, that the firm and intelligent handling of the ensemble was assured in advance. The forces were adequate: the old choristers had new costumes, of picturesque design and color; singers and audience were alike familiar with the music; and the opera moved promptly through its accustomed course without surprises of any kind.

Plançon repeated his fine performance of Mephistopheles, singing with sonorous authority, and Scotti, while he disappoints in the lyric aspect of Valentin, invests the part with dramatic dignity and serious pathos. The unfamiliar figures were Madame Ackté, who made her first appearance in America, M. Naval, who was heard for the first time in Philadelphia, and Miss Walker, who played Siebel for the first time here.

Madame Ackté is a fair young woman, tall and slim, with a refined and graceful personality. While her Marguerite makes no marked departure from the French tradition, she invests the part with a sad and serious sentiment that is appealing. She has a bright, clear voice, with the nasal intonation that is common with French singers but is not usually liked by Americans. Her execution of the jewel song was not remarkable, but she was quite sure of her part, and in the later scenes and in the concert music her singing was musically effective. She is evidently an artist of refined sensibility and her youth and sympathetic charm, invaluable in this familiar role, will wln with better acquaintance.

M. Naval is a much more than ordinarily capable tenor with a voice of very considerable power, not always absolutely true nor always quite responsive to his intentions, but full and musical at its best and suggestive of both lyric and dramatic possibilities. He sings with great earnestness and good dramatic sense and the prologue was admirably delivered. The "Salut. demeure" went beyond his range and the execution was laborious and not altogether successful, but he proved himself effective in action and should be a most useful addition to the company.

Miss Walker's Siebel was pleasing to look upon, though it was scarcely a masculine figure, and she made so much of a "performance" of her flower song as to lose its boyish simplicity. But she helped in the picture and excess of zeal in a young artist is a lesser fault than the lack of it. Naval will be heard again in next week's opera, L'Elisir d'Amore," which is to be followed by the ballet of "Coppélia."



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