[Met Performance] CID:43400
Faust {264} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/1/1909.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 1, 1909


FAUST {264}

Faust...................Riccardo Martin
Marguerite..............Geraldine Farrar
Méphistophélès..........Leon Rains [Last performance]
Valentin................Pasquale Amato
Siebel..................Rita Fornia
Marthe..................Marie Mattfeld
Wagner..................Paolo Ananian
Dance...................Gina Torriani

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

Unsigned review in the Evening Post

On the 19th of this month half a century will have elapsed since Gounod's "Faust" had its first performance in Paris; yet to the large audience which heard and applauded it at the Metropolitan last night it seemed as fresh as if it load been composed a year ago. To be sure, the soldiers' chorus and a few other numbers are hackneyed; yet even these interest us when they are sung and played with spirit, as they were last night. The performance altogether was quite above the average in merit, although most of the parts have been done here many times by greater artists. Mr. Leon Rains, who appeared for the first time as Mephistopheles, fell far short of Edouard de Reszke and Plançon; his enactment was deficient in irony, humor and effectiveness; he missed a surprising number of traditional points. If this was intentional, so much the worse. Originality is not always better than imitation. Mr. Amato sang and acted the part of Valentine satisfactorily, and Mr. Martin's clear and vibrant voice was a pleasure to hear in the part of Faust.

The soul of the performance, however, was Miss Farrar, whose Marguerite has the charm of constant novelty; like the great pianists, she never plays a piece twice alike. She sang beautifully; but beauty of tone is only one of the sterling qualities of the art of this American prima donna. What has made her so popular with the best class of opera-goers is the emotional quality of her singing. The spirit of every line of the text is mirrored in her voice; at every moment she makes the audience sympathize with her joys and woes. Saint Saëns relates that Gounod himself sang his own melodies with an intensity of expression that no singer on the stage could equal-but he had not heard Miss Farrar! How simple and girlish her joy, in voice and action, over the jewels! How pensive her Thule ballad! How intense her love in the garden, how agonizing her remorse in front of the church; how true to life her horror at the demon: how pathetic her insanity in the prison! Miss Farrar has all the qualities that made Mme. Calvé, in her best years, so fascinating.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).