[Met Performance] CID:4270
Le Prophète {19} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/27/1885.

(Debuts: Eloi Sylva, Maria Bonfanti, Bettina De Sortis
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 27, 1885
In German


LE PROPHÈTE {19}
Meyerbeer-Scribe

Jean of Leyden..........Eloi Sylva [Debut]
Berthe..................Auguste Seidl-Kraus
Fidès...................Marianne Brandt
Zacharie................Philip Lehmler
Jonas...................Otto Kemlitz
Mathisen................Carl Kaufmann
Count Oberthal..........Alexander Alexy
Dance...................Marie Bonfanti [Debut]
Dance...................Bettina De Sortis [Debut]

Conductor...............Walter Damrosch

Director................Mr. Van Hell
Set Designer............Charles Fox, Jr.
Set Designer............William Schaeffer
Set Designer............Gaspar Maeder
Set Designer............Mr. Thompson
Costume Designer........D. Ascoli
Costume Designer........Henry Dazian

Le Prophète received five performances in German this season.


Review in The New York Times

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

"The Prophet," which proved one of the most attractive works presented at the Metropolitan Opera House during the progress of last season, was reproduced last evening with results indicating that it will enjoy at least as liberal a measure of public favor in the immediate future. There is every reason, indeed, why it should have more frequent performance than last year. As now given at the Metropolitan it brings before the auditor the best artists concerned in its earliest production at the up-town house, and it enlists, besides, the exertions of a new tenor, whose success, on the occasion under notice, was immediate and decisive. The stage attire of "The Prophet" has also taken on an increase of magnificence; to summarize, it should be said of last evening's representation that it must be reckoned with the very best witnessed by the habitués of the theatre. Though neither Meyerbeer's score nor its interpretation by most of the performers welcomed by last night's spectators offers particularly novel themes for comment, it would be both just and gratifying, bearing in mind the scale upon which the revival of "The Prophet" is undertaken, to deal with it otherwise than laconically. This privilege is unhappily denied the writers that witnessed the principal scenes of the opera, for the final curtain did not fall until past midnight. No attempt could be made, under these circumstances, to review seriatim the notable incidents of the evening. Many of these, however, have become familiar to regular attendants at the Metropolitan. The dramatic and lyric merits of the portrayals of Fides and Bertha, supplied respectively by Fräulein Brandt and Frau Kraus, are no doubt well remembered, and when mention is made of the fact that the first-named artist's arioso and her air in the scene directly prefacing the proceedings in the cathedral, with the duet between the two women in the streets of Münster were highly effective, no further reference is required just now by their achievements. Herr Alexi's Oberthal was a respectable delineation of that thankless personage, but the three anabaptists by Herren Kemlitz, Kaufman, and Lehmler, carried their religious fervor into a unanimous aversion to singing in tune, and there were few measures of the concerted numbers in which the trio had a hand, in which they came within hailing distance of the composer's notes, While Fräulein Brandt and Frau Kraus wrought quite as good an impression as in the past, the honors of yesterday's performance were borne off by M. Eloi Sylva. The new corner was a trifle nervous when he first came forth in the second act, but his recital of the dream, his subsequent scene with the anabaptists, the prayer and the fiery address to the forces before Münster, and the interview with Fides in the cathedral firmly established his claim to be rewarded as a performer of the very highest rank. M. Sylva possesses a voice of uncommon power and extending over the full tenor range. Its timbre is that of dramatic tenors - heroic tenors; as the Germans put it - in general, and the artist's declamation is of the ideal type coveted by that order of singers, while his execution has all the smoothness and finish characterizing the best work of tenorl di grazia. Since the days or Signor Tamberlick the public has listened to no delivery as broad, forceful, and elegant as that of M. Sylva, nor has it beheld any lyrico-dramatic portrayal in which fervor and strength were more happily allied to unvarying refinement of style. At the close of the inspiriting words to the beleaguerers of Münster, M. Sylva was thrice called before the footlights, amid cheers and applause from all parts of the house. The "mise en scene" of "The Prophet" was, with some modifications, the same as last year. The cathedral scene was made much more brilliant and impressive by a change in the setting, but the innovation intended to displace the time-tried method of producing snow was not successful, nor was the endeavor to give electric splendor to the rising sun altogether judicious. The scene in which the skaters are beheld was, as heretofore, full of color and animation, and the final tableau suitably lurid. A rare and fashionable audience witnessed the representation.



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