[Met Performance] CID:37190
Carmen {192} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/5/1906.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 5, 1906


CARMEN {192}

Carmen..................Olive Fremstad
Don José................Enrico Caruso
Micaela.................Bessie Abott
Escamillo...............Marcel Journet
Frasquita...............Paula Ralph
Mercédès................Josephine Jacoby
Remendado...............Albert Reiss
Dancaïre................Eugène Dufriche
Zuniga..................Bernard Bégué
Moralès.................Taurino Parvis
Dance...................Bianca Froehlich

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

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


Review of Henry Krehbiel in The New York Herald Tribune

Another opera, which, like "Martha," would have been gladly welcomed earlier in the season, was brought out at the Opera House last night. It was "Carmen." Some years ago it seemed as if all proprietary rights to Bizet's opera belonged to Mme. C***é. There was a gradual change in the attitude of the judicious when the popular enthusiasm got into the artist's head and turned it so completely that she forgot all dramatic and musical proprieties and made the role a vehicle of her momentary whims, to the utter destruction of the drama's strength and charm. There was a beautiful illumination when Miss Fremstad came forward in the opera last year; but the light was not far reaching. Last night it seemed to have penetrated further, for the opera was greeted with a superb audience. But it was only seeming. It was a Monday night, for one thing, and a Caruso first appearance, for another. Under such circumstances it is difficult to measure how much of last night's demonstration of interest and approval was due to the restoration of the opera and its most admirable titular representative, and how much to the social show and the desire to hear Caruso in music not sung by him heretofore. But the questions are of small concern.

"Carmen" had a fine representation. In the hands of Miss Fremstad its heroine recovered some of the characteristics with which the author originally invested her. The loose-limbed, loose-minded wanton was again in evidence, more persistently and consistently in evidence, indeed, than she was on the memorable first appearance of Mme. C***é, when it seemed for a brief space as if the police might properly be called in to give the warning which, tradition says was once uttered to Galli-Marié, the original French representative of the character. Miss Fremstad has formed a strong notion of the dramatic elements in her part, and has elaborated a series of details to illustrate their development from the beginning to the end. In nothing that she has done is she more comprehensively artistic.

Some of the dramatic blood which courses hotly through the opera seemed for a moment to have got into the brains of Signor Caruso in the second act. He had sung the romance with compelling fervor and fallen on his knees behind Carmen, sulking at a table. Then came the applause. It sprang up, swelled like a tornado, then died away as if a sudden intellectual awakening had brought the thought that the dramatic situation had reached a point where Don José should get up and all himself again with the emotions of which he had just rid himself. Even Signor Caruso seemed to have come to a realization of the obviously proper thing. But the devotees of his voice began the plaudits again. Now there were hisses. Again the applause, and, though the hissers were redoubled, the strain was too much for the tenor. He put aside his attitude of pitious, desolate supplication, rose, acknowledged the applause, and returned to weep on Carmen's right shoulder blade. The humor of the new attitude seized upon the audience, then spread to the stage, and dramatic illusion had taken wings.

Miss Abott sang the music of Micaela with a tiny voice, which sounded as if terrified by the spaces which it was asking to fit, but yet enlisted warm sympathy by its pretty quality, its tunefulness, and the intelligence back of it. Miss Abott's stage instincts are most commendable, but the material at her command is frail.



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