[Met Performance] CID:34630
Tosca {25} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/16/1905.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 16, 1905


TOSCA {25}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Tosca...................Emma Eames
Cavaradossi.............Enrico Caruso
Scarpia.................Antonio Scotti
Sacristan...............Arcangelo Rossi
Spoletta................Mr. Giordani
Angelotti...............Eugène Dufriche
Sciarrone...............Bernard Bégué
Shepherd................Florence Mulford
Jailer..................Victor Baillard

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

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

Tosca received four performances this season.

Enrico Caruso repeated "E lucevan le stelle"

Unsigned review in The New York Times

The revival of Puccini's "Tosca" last evening at the Metropolitan Opera House brought back to the part of the heroine Mme. Emma Eames and enlisted the rest of the cast that co-operated in the performance last season. The opera has been a part of the repertory at the opera house for four or five years, but it is by no means so effective a product of Puccini's talent as "La Bohème." He has not the same power of interpreting in music the keen and concentrated theatrical situations of Sardou's play and the circumstances leading up to them, as he showed in the bustle and gayety and the simple, pathetic scenes that are loosely strung together from Murger's novel. His music is far from being so characteristic of the mood and it frequently falls into sheer impotence in the development of the tense situations and the emotional climaxes, as in the second act.

When Mme. Eames first essayed the part of the heroine two seasons ago it was noted as a daring departure on her part from the style she had hitherto made her own-from the gentler operatic maidenliness of the Marguerites, the Juliettes, the Elsas of which she had given such beautiful embodiments. And it was generally conceded that the vocal and physical exertions demanded by Puccini's vehement heroine were the cause of her breakdown and retirement from the company in February, 1903. It must still be maintained that she is not pre-eminently fitted for the part in either vocal style or the peculiar kind of histrionic ability it demands.

But her performance last evening showed a considerably firmer grasp on the essentials of the character and a considerably greater technical skill in presenting it. She reached further beyond the conventional limitations that hemmed her in before and she commanded the intense and strenuous declamation that is so frequently needed, with much less evidence of effort. The broad melodies which appear in the score not overoften she delivered, it need not be said, with exquisite beauty of tone and phrasing and to the eye she was a picture of ravishing beauty. It was, on the whole, a performance of finer and more convincing quality than Mme. Eames has given before.

Mr. Caruso does not present Cavaradossi as a painter of much distinction of manner or much intensity of feeling, at least in the first part of the drama; it is not till he has his impassioned song in the last act that he sounds the note of elemental power. This song he was called upon to repeat, and was not at all unwilling to do so, in the face of the dramatic absurdity such a repetition involves. For the infatuated Scarpia there could scarcely be a more supremely elegant, cynical and balefully suggestive interpretation than Mr. Scotti's; he expends upon the part some of his finest skill.

Mr. Vigna conducted with a plenitude of zeal and watchfulness for all the significance of every measure. Yet in the scene at the end the first act, in which the glitter of the ecclesiastical procession, the choral mass and Scarpia's soliloquy should unite with the orchestra in an imposing climax, he obtained a curiously ineffective result The audience was very large, and, in certain quarters, demonstrative.



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