[Met Performance] CID:34330
L'Elisir d'Amore {8} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/24/1904.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 24, 1904 Matinee

Donizetti-F. Romani

Adina...................Marcella Sembrich
Nemorino................Enrico Caruso
Belcore.................Antonio Scotti
Dr. Dulcamara...........Arcangelo Rossi
Giannetta...............Florence Mulford

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

Director................Eugène Dufriche
Set Designer............James Fox

L'Elisir d'Amore received one performance this season.

Enrico Caruso repeated "Una furtiva lagrima"

Unsigned review in The New York Times

Of the revivals of what an English critic has aptly called the "palaeotechnic" Italian operas, none have given so much pleasure at the Metropolitan Opera House as those of Donizetti's comedies; for in them is shown most of the vitality that is left in the operas of their period. "L'Elisir d'Amore." that was produced at the Opera House yesterday afternoon for the first time this season, is one of the most delightful of these comic operas. When it was added to the repertory last year after a long slumber of twenty years it at once was recognized as a worthy complement to "Don Pasquale" and "La Fille du Regiment," that had been giving much pleasure since their revivals a few years before.

It is of the same sort, cut from the same cloth and possessed of the same brilliant gayety. Its music is still fresh and uoyant melody of the most facile Donizettian type, graceful and fluent and consorted most dexterously with the rippling comic action. It is all music that singers of the coloratura style delight to employ their powers in and Mme. Sembrich and Mr. Caruso have ample opportunity to display their powers lavishly in it. Mr. Conried is fortunate in possessing artists who can so perfectly set forth not only the glittering and melodious music of the opera, but who can enter, as they do, whole-heartedly into the mirthful and vivacious spirit of the comedy.

"L'Elisir" is a trifle: light as air, very slight in texture and requires much facility and lightness of touch to carry it off successfully. Mme. Sembrich, Mr. Caruso, Mr. Rossi and Mr. Scotti give it just this touch and co-operate in admirable unanimity. Mme. Sembrich was yesterday in her most frolicsome spirits and made a bewitchingly arch Adina. She was in beautiful voice, too, and sang with delicious quality and dazzling brilliancy.

There are many effective arias for her scattered through the score. Poor Nemorino is not a figure greatly to impress the spectators any more than the coy Adina, and the humorous aspects of that futile and, until the end unsuccessful peasant lover, are rather elementary. Mr. Caruso's comedy is of the same elementary kind: but he makes, doubtless, all there is to be made out of Nemorino's despair, his naive confidence in the quack's elixir and his bewilderment at its non-success. More important is the fact that there is much for him to sing and in this he revels with all the flowery Italian graces superimposed upon the marvelous voice and style.

Is there anything more captivating, more melting, more ornate in its old-fashioned rhetoric than his singing of "Una furtiva lagrima" in the last act? The audience thought not and that famous piece in which he triumphed so conspicuously last year was again a triumph for him and he was insistently called upon to repeat it. Perhaps the soberer of his listeners, while they admired as profoundly as any the beauty of much that he did, wished that in certain passages he would let his volume of tone be less torrential, less forced and that he would exercise a little more artistic restraint in his expression.

Mr. Scotty's voice has seldom been better than it was yesterday, more clear, true and powerful; nor has his execution of florid music been cleaner and juster. He is an adorable military man and perfectly justified Adina's first preferences in the matter of suitors. Mr. Rossi makes much out of the broad humor that lies on the surface of Dr. Dulcamara's appearance. He has the true spirit of the fakir and he makes many of his points through the "parlando" style of half singing, half speaking, that he loves and that is more properly in place in this piece than in some others.

The chorus enters into the situations with much gusto and Mr. Vigna conducts with an animation that keeps the whole performance moving and pulsing with life. The audience was much more demonstrative than audiences at the Metropolitan Opera. House, especially the matinée audiences, are wont to be, and enjoyed the whole piece hugely.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).