[Met Performance] CID:38550
Metropolitan Opera Premiere

In the presence of the composer
Manon Lescaut {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/18/1907.

(Debuts: Freida Altmann, Miriam Cardoza,
Margaret Dunlap, Anna Gress, Margaret Sumner, Henriette Wakefield

Metropolitan Opera House
January 18, 1907
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In the presence of the composer


Manon...................Lina Cavalieri
Des Grieux..............Enrico Caruso
Lescaut.................Antonio Scotti
Geronte.................Arcangelo Rossi
Edmondo.................Jacques Bars
Innkeeper...............Bernard Bégué
Solo Madrigalist........Lina Simeoli
Dancing Master..........Giovanni Paroli
Sergeant................Vittorio Navarini
Lamplighter.............Albert Reiss
Captain.................Bernard Bégué
Youths: Freida Altmann [Debut], Paula Braendle, Miriam Cardoza [Debut], Margaret Dunlap [Debut], Roberta Glanville, Anna Gress [Debut], Hilde Grindell [Debut], Katherine Moran, Inga Örner, Ada Schramm, Estelle Shearman, Margaret Sumner [Debut], Edith Vail, Jane Van der Zee [Debut], India Waelchli, Henriette Wakefield [Debut]

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

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

NOTE: Youths were Pupils of the School of Opera.

Puccini was to have supervised the final rehearsals of this production, but his ship was delayed by bad weather and did not arrive in New York until the day of the premiere. The composer entered his box at the opera house in time for Act II and had to acknowledge an ovation.

Manon Lescaut: received four performances this season.

Review of Richard Aldrich in The New York Times

The long series of new performances given this season at the Metropolitan Opera House received an important addition last evening in Puccini's "Manon Lescaut." The occasion was a very brilliant one. There was a very large audience present and the opera was produced in the presence of the composer, who had just arrived from Europe in time to witness the performance. He was honored by a vociferous fanfare from the orchestra after the first act and by applause from the audience that had every ring of enthusiastic admiration.

Not only the composer, but, what is more to the point, his work, received the tribute of admiring recognition from the audience, upon whom it clearly made a deep and highly favorable impression. Indeed, it seemed likely that "Manon Lescaut" was the one new performance at the Metropolitan so far during the present season that had won an unqualified success and was likely to become a lasting item in the repertory. It was an admirable performance in many ways. It brought Mr. Caruso before the public in a new part and gave Mme. Cavalieri an opportunity for which she has waited long. Mr. Scotti had an excellent part, and the collective features of the representation had been carefully and intelligently prepared. The opera was handsomely mounted. Mr. Vigna's conducting of the score was animated and vigorous and brought out many of its delicate beauties.

The music has a remarkable flow of melody and the score has the transparency and unfailing charm by which Puccini is raised above his follows in the contemporaneous Italian school. The characteristic style that we know in "La Boheme" and "Tosca" is well developed--that of making the orchestra the life blood of the whole drama. The orchestra is consistently melodious, consistently expressive, rarely merely an accompanying medium. There is much variety and piquancy, and much dramatic warmth.

From the review of Henry Krehbiel in the New York Tribune

Why it should have waited till now, and for the stimulus of the composer's coming before reaching the Metropolitan Opera House will not easily be explained by those admirers of the composer who have long known, or at least felt, that in spite of the high opinion in which "La Boheme," "La Tosca," and "Madame Butterfly," are held here, "Manon Lescaut" is...fresher, more spontaneous, more unaffected and more passionate in its climaxes, as well as more ingratiatingly charming in its comedy element than any of the works from his pen that have succeeded it. The unmistakable voice of Puccini rings through all of its measures, but it is freer from the formularies which have since become more or less stereotyped, and there are a greater number of echoes of the tunefulness which belongs to the older period, between which and the present time the work marks a transition. After last night's performance there is little likelihood that "Manon Lescaut" will again be permitted to fall into a desuetude, at least so long as Signor Caruso remains associated with the opera in New York, for in the character of the Chevalier des Grieux that artist has one of the finest mediums that he has yet disclosed for the exploitation of his phenomenal gifts of voice and manner.

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