[Met Performance] CID:42250
Faust {258} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/5/1908.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 5, 1908 Matinee


FAUST {258}

Faust...................Enrico Caruso
Marguerite..............Geraldine Farrar
Méphistophélès..........Adamo Didur
Valentin................Jean Noté
Siebel..................Isabelle L'Huillier
Marthe..................Marie Mattfeld
Wagner..................Paolo Ananian
Dance...................Gina Torriani

Conductor...............Francesco Spetrino

Unsigned review in the Globe

'FAUST'

Gounod's "Faust" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House last Saturday afternoon for the first time this season. The performance was in French, with Miss Farrar as Marguerite, Miss L'Hullier as Siebel, Mr. Caruso as Faust, and Mr. Didur and Mr. Noté as Mephistopheles and Valentine respectively. It was a performance that presented many points of interest, although on the whole it did not reach the level of musical excellence and distinction attained at some performances of this work on the same stage in former years. The audience was large.

Miss Farrar has evidently gone back to Goethe for some of her ideas regarding the part of Marguerite, although her presentation of it does not correspond exactly to the Gretchen of the play. It is in many respects quite at variance with the operatic traditions, but it is none the less interesting and effective. Miss Farrar's Marguerite is a very young and somewhat kittenish creature, whose innocence is such that she is unable quite to understand the tragedy that overwhelms her. In her first scene with Faust, she is not merely the modest maiden shrinking from the advances of a cavalier, but a young girl overcome with the fright at a strange adventure. Her impersonation of the heroine in the scene of the death of Valentine is strongly thought and carried out. Miss Farrar was not in the best of voice on Saturday, and there were times when she seemed vocally hardly to meet fully the requirements of the role. However, there was much to admire in her voice and her singing.

Mr. Caruso's Faust is in many respects an excellent one. Apparently he is more at home in a foreign tongue than some of his compatriots are. He was in good form vocally, and his impersonation, while missing to a certain degree the suavity of the French style, was dramatic along the conventional lines, and aroused the enthusiasm of the audience. Mr. Didur gave a low comedy impersonation of Mephistopheles. His devil is by no means such a polished gentleman as we have seen him represented, but a rough fellow who grimaces and indulges in comical antics. He seemingly regards smooth, sonorous singing as incompatible with a dramatic performance of the part. Mr. Noté sang the role of Valentine in a fragmentary manner, quite different from the broad, smooth style that the part requires. Miss L'Hullier was a passable Siebel, and Miss Mattfeld accentuated he honor of the role of Marthe. The chorus sang with freshness of tone and vigor. Mr. Spetrino conducted.



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