[Met Performance] CID:4620
Faust {17} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/20/1886.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 20, 1886
In German


FAUST {17}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Faust...................Albert Stritt
Marguerite..............Lilli Lehmann
Méphistophélès..........Emil Fischer
Valentin................Adolf Robinson
Siebel..................Marianne Brandt
Marthe..................Carrie Goldsticker
Wagner..................Philip Lehmler

Conductor...............Anton Seidl

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

Faust received six performances in German this season.

Review in The New York Times:

"FAUST' IN GERMAN

The Metropolitan Opera House contained last evening an audience that filled every box and seat and almost every available inch of standing room. The occasion of this outpouring of the populace was the performance of an opera whose hold on the public heart cannot be shaken by all the logic of theorists or visions of prophets - namely, Gounod's "Faust." The large audience present last evening listened to every number with such deep and earnest interest that the familiar expostulatory sibilation of the music lovers in the orchestra stalls vainly seeking for silence was heard only once, and that very early in the evening. Applause was frequent and there were moments of warm and unusual enthusiasm. Probably the fact that many persons were agreeably surprised had not a little to do with this. The present tendencies of German opera and the accompanying training of German singers is leading in a different direction from that of the flowery path along which the genius of Gounod was roaming when it conceived "Faust." The Metropolitan Opera House company, as a whole, acquitted itself with honor in a class of music which might fairly be called opposed to its traditions and its chief ambition. Frau Lehmann had not to wait until last night to earn a reputation for her Marguerite. She has been known for some time past in Germany as one of the most accomplished interpreters of this charming role. She sang the music last evening with a rare finish of vocal technique and a most admirable exhibition of grace and feeling. Her "King of Thule" was a lovely bit of cantabile singing, while her treatment of the "Jewel Song" abounded in sweetness and ingenuousness. In the love scene with Faust she acted and sang with commendable judgment, and in the later scenes of the opera her pathos was deep and sincere. Herr Fischer was a most sardonic Mephistopheles, acting with significant facial expression and gesture and singing with fine vigor. His two principal solos won him hearty applause. Herr Robinson's Valentine was a strong and passionate portrayal, both in acting and singing, and the death scene was highly effective. Herr Stritt was in poor voice, but he sang the music of Faust with much expression. His "Salve dimora" was given with fine feeling and not a little beauty of tone. In many of the scenes of the opera, however, the poor condition of his voice sadly marred his singing. Frau Brandt, was the Siebel and sang her music with perhaps more vigor than judgment. Fräulein Goldsticker was an efficient Martha. The chorus, though at times somewhat uncertain as to the pitch and a trifle dim in its notions of time, was generally good. The soldiers' chorus was given with fine spirit and a most lavish outburst of brass. Herr Anton Seidl, who might readily be supposed, from his Wagnerian affiliations, to have little sympathy with Gounod's music, conducted with great intelligence and an evident desire to do full justice to the score. The orchestra was in fine form, and its work throughout the evening was admirably done. The ballet scene, never before given in this country - unless a feeble attempt made once by a French opera company at the Academy is to be taken into account - was presented. The ballet music has been made familiar in the concert room. In spite of the brilliancy of this scene - and it was excellently done last night- it adds nothing to the interest of the opera, but rather interrupts the continuity of the action. The audience, as we have said, appeared to enjoy the opera greatly after the more serious business of listening to Wagner's music-dramas, and at the close of the garden scene called out the principal performers five times.



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