[Met Performance] CID:34030
Carmen {186} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/25/1904.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 25, 1904


CARMEN {186}
Bizet-Meilhac/L. Halévy

Carmen..................Olive Fremstad
Don José................Albert Saléza
Micaela.................Aïno Ackté
Escamillo...............Marcel Journet
Frasquita...............Paula Ralph
Mercédès................Josephine Jacoby
Remendado...............Albert Reiss
Dancaïre................Eugène Dufriche
Zuniga..................Bernard Bégué
Moralès.................Taurino Parvis
Dance...................Enrichetta Varasi

Conductor...............Arturo Vigna

Director................Eugène Dufriche

Carmen received five perfomrances this season.


Review of Richard Aldrich in The New York Times

The performance of "Carmen" given last evening at the Metropolitan Opera House was a delightful revelation of powers hitherto not known to this public on the part of one of Mr. Conried's most highly esteemed singers, Mme. Olive Fremstad, who appeared for the first time here as the heroine of Bizet's opera. She has hitherto won her greatest successes in the Wagnerian parts of larger mold that require breadth, plasticity, tragic sweep, although her performance as Santuzza in "Cavalleria Rusticana" last season gave an inkling that she possessed capacities of a very different sort. Last evening she showed decisively that she is richly dowered with the glowing temperament, the impulsiveness, the subtlety and skill to show forth all the salient characteristics of Bizet's Spanish gypsy. Her impersonation was a revelation in many ways and set up an ideal of the part that is likely to stand as one of the most notable ones that have been presented to this public since the opera was first made known here.

It is a distinctive and highly original impersonation. It had Mediterranean warmth and passion, the capriciousness of the gypsy, and it abounds in subtleties and finesse. Its seductiveness is alluring without grossness. Mme. Fremstad indulges in no exaggerations and no extravagances; yet she contrives to set forth in clearly defined outline and with a wealth of detail the essentially sensual nature of the woman, her refinement of wanton wickedness. Her fascination of the luckless José in the first two acts was accomplished with bewitching grace; the climax of her scene with him in Lillas-Pastia's tavern was accompanied by no disturbance of the furniture; but there was the gleam of feline savagery in her suppressed rage; and she denoted the tense oppression of her inquiry into the promise of fate in her scene with the cards in the third act. Mme. Fremstad's voice has all the quality that is most effective in Carmen's music. She sang it with splendid power and opulent expressiveness and with a warmth of color befitting the changing requirements of the dramatic situation. Her rich low tones she uses with especial suggestiveness.

Mr. Salèza's return after three years of absence was greeted with enthusiasm; it restores to the forces of the opera house a tenor singer of musical and dramatic endowments of a very high order. His impersonation of Don José is well remembered and is certainly one of his best parts. Mme. Aino Ackté appeared for the first time as Micaela and bettered the impression she had made in her work last year. The character is a colorless one, but she made all there was to be made of it, and sang her two chief airs beautifully, especially that in the third act, in which she showed a freedom and a warmth that have not always characterized her work. Mr. Journet was the Escamillo and sang in excellent voice.

Of Mr. Vigna's conducting there is little to be said in praise; it was lacking in a finer understanding of the distinction and beauty of the score-rough and noisy sometimes and sometimes distorting the phrase and playing strange tricks with the tempo. There was new scenery, much of it handsome, and there were new and effective costumes for the chorus.



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