[Met Performance] CID:46110
Metropolitan Opera Stage Premiere
Fra Diavolo {2} New York, Manhattan, New Theatre: 01/11/1910.
 (Metropolitan Opera Stage Premiere)
(Debut: Louise Musaeus
Review)


New York, Manhattan, New Theatre
January 11, 1910
Metropolitan Opera Stage Premiere
New production


FRA DIAVOLO {2}
Auber-Scribe

Fra Diavolo.............Edmond Clément
Zerline.................Bella Alten
Lorenzo.................Georges Régis
Pamela..................Jeanne Maubourg
Kokbourg................Leo Devaux
Matheo..................Paolo Ananian
Beppo...................Albert Reiss
Giacomo.................Georges Bourgeois
Servant.................Lucette De Lievin
Dance...................Gina Torriani
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

Conductor...............Alfred Hertz

Director................Kurt Stern
Set Designer............James Fox
Costume Designer........Blaschke & Cie
Costume Designer........Louise Musaeus [Debut]

Fra Diavolo received eight performances this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times

For the first time in its history the Metropolitan Opera Company turned its attention to Auber's "Fra Diavolo." one of the masterworks of French opera comique, last night, producing it at The New Theatre. It is a curious fact that Henry Abbey promised "Fra Diavolo" during his first season of the Metropolitan in 1883, but like other promised operas since that date it was never performed by the company.

However, "Fra Diavolo" has never lacked a hearing in America for any length of time. There is a record of a performance in English at the old Park Theatre on June 20, 1833, three years after the original production in Paris. Thereafter it has been given frequently in this country, sometimes in Italian, but more often in English. Probably the first Italian performances occurred in 1864 at the Academy of Music when Clara Louise Kellogg was heard as Zerline. Zelie de Lussan sang the soprano part with the Boston Ideals Company, and the opera was a favorite with Emma Albani.

Col. Mapleson gave three performances of "Fra Diavolo" at the Academy of Music in 1885, when Signor Ravelli appeared in the title part, Signor del Puente as Beppo, Signor Cherubini as Giacomo, Alma Frostrom as Zerline, Signor Caracciolo as Milord, and Mme. Déméric Lablache as Pamela. In 1900 Col. Savage gave the opera week of English performances at the American Theatre. The most recent performances of the opera in New York were given in Italian at the Manhattan Opera House in 1907, when Mr. Bonci sang Fra Diavolo, Mr. Gilibert, Milord; Mr. Venturini, Lorenzo; Mr. Fossetta, Matteo; Mr. Arimondi, Giacomo; Mr. Gianoli-Galletti, Beppo; Miss Pinkert, Zerline, and Mme. Giaconia, Pamela.

It is barely possible that last night's performance was the first which has been given in New York in French with Scribe's original text, a fact which would serve to give the performance additional interest if it could be established. In any case it must be recorded that the performance was a good one. Of the charm of the opera itself there is no need to speak at this time.

The performance last night was completely dominated by Edmond Clément in the title part, one which suits him better than any other in which he has yet been heard here. Mr. Clément's French diction and his singing of purely lyric passages cannot be excelled, and these are the two demands that this opera makes upon a tenor. His singing of the serenade in the second act was an exquisite piece of work, and he was forced to repeat it.

Miss. Alten was simple and charming as Zerline, and sang much of the music well, although she did not seem to be always at home in the language she was called upon to sing in. Mr. Reiss and Mr. Bourgeois made a very amusing pair of thieves, and Mlle. Maubourg and Mr. Devaux played the parts of the English tourists struggling with the French language capitally.

Mr. Herz conducted the score, and it cannot be said that at all times he seemed to be entire in sympathy with the probable intentions of the composer. At times a little more lightness in effect would have given the performance more sparkle and more grace. He accomplished dramatic wonders with the overture, and in this connection a special word of praise is due the snare drummer.

The scenery, all of it painted in New York by James Fox, the scenic artist of the Metropolitan Opera House, was very lovely. No more beautiful setting than those of the first and last acts have been seen here recently.



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