[Met Performance] CID:4340
Le Prophète {20} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/9/1885.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 9, 1885
In German


LE PROPHÈTE {20}

Jean of Leyden..........Eloi Sylva
Berthe..................Lilli Lehmann
Fidès...................Marianne Brandt
Zacharie................Philip Lehmler
Jonas...................Jaro Dworsky
Mathisen................Carl Kaufmann
Count Oberthal..........Josef Staudigl
Dance...................Marie Bonfanti
Dance...................Bettina De Sortis

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

Review in The New York Times:

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

Last evening's representation of "The Prophet" at the Metropolitan Opera House was, as to vocal and dramatic impressiveness, the most noteworthy offered during the current season. It enlisted, as heretofore, the exertions of M. Sylva and Fräulein Brandt, and its importance was further enhanced by the assignment of Bertha to Fräulein Lehmann, while sundry judicious excisions and a change in respect to the tent scene made the progress of the entertainment brisker than usual. Some people may object, as a matter of form, to the smallest "cuts" in such master works as "The Prophet," but the fact remains that after three hours' attention few auditors are able to discriminate between good and bad music. Yesterday's rendering of "The Prophet," however, derived more interest from the performances of M. Sylva and Fräulein Lehmann than from the slight modifications made in the score. The new tenor was in admirable condition, and his management of a voice of enormous volume, both in declamatory and in ornate measures, was quite remarkable. His narrative of the dream was delivered with great feeling, variety of accent, and force, but his strongest effects were wrought in the final scene of the same act, and especially in the scene before Munster. At the last named stage of events M. Sylva introduced an Italian cadenza, which would scarcely accord with latter day theories as to the high mission of opera, but which was executed with such marvelous facility, brilliancy, and power that the audience had some difficulty in restraining its enthusiasm until the end of the act, when it recalled the tenor thrice. In the touching interview with Fides in the cathedral, M. Sylva's acting was on a plane with his singing, and, in fine, his whole portrayal of John of Leyden may be set down as one of the memorable achievements witnessed in recent years. Fräulein Lehmann's Bertha, although inferior to M. Sylva's personation in breadth and sentiment, demands high praise. It was particularly creditable as a lyric effort, and although characterized throughout by a seriousness and dignity that were not exactly in keeping with the rustic naiveté of the personage, the delineation commended itself to sympathy by sweetness and tenderness. Vocally, of course, Fräulein Lehmann was far in advance of Frau Krauss, and her singing in the first act and in the duet with Fides just before the cathedral scene was of a kind that is very seldom listened to when German prima donnas occupy the stage. The general representation, although not without blemishes - these occurring principally in the cathedral scene - left little to be wished for: Fräulein Brandt was as painstaking and proved as popular as ever in the garb of Fides; by the elimination of the principal offending Anabaptist of old, the tedious measures allotted to the trio, were at all events inoffensive - save in a few bars at the point just referred to - and the scenic attire of the opera was as gorgeous and accurate as when "The Prophet" was first presented last season. Mr. Walter Damrosch conducted, and brought to his task more than wonted steadiness and his usual energy.



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