[Met Performance] CID:47170
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {74}
Ballet Divertissement
. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/7/1910.

(Debut: Elvira de Hidalgo, Michel Fokine

Metropolitan Opera House
March 7, 1910


Figaro..................John Forsell
Rosina..................Elvira de Hidalgo [Debut]
Count Almaviva..........Alessandro Bonci
Dr. Bartolo.............Antonio Pini-Corsi
Don Basilio.............Adamo Didur
Berta...................Marie Mattfeld
Fiorello................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Sergeant................Pietro Audisio

Conductor...............Vittorio Podesti

[In the Lesson Scene de Hidalgo sang Proch's "Deh torna mio bene" and repeated it as an encore.]


Bleichmann: Adagio {2}
Anna Pavlova, Mikail Mordkin
Mikail Mordkin, Choreographer

Chopin: Le Papillon, {1}
Anna Pavlova
Michel Fokine, Choreographer [Debut]

Alabiev: Russian Dance {1}
Anna Pavlova, Mikail Mordkin
Mikail Mordkin, Choreographer

Conductor...............Vittorio Podesti

Review: Reginald de Koven, New York World

Any attempt to fix the responsibility for the appearance of a Spanish singer, one Elvira de Hidalgo, who made a debut as Rosina in Rossini's "Barber of Seville" at the Metropolitan last night, would have sent general and administrate managers and the entire board of directors into any and every convenient out of the way corner to avoid detection.

"Shades of Patti and Sembrich." said an old opera-goer in my hearing. "I never heard such a funny noise!" And this during the Proch "Variations" introduced in the "Lesson" scene, where the rather fluent colorature, which is the lady's only excuse for vocal existence, might be thought to have counted for something. Surely the magnificent traditions of the Metropolitan have never been so violated, and the artistic taste and judgment of the present management so open to impeachment.

I hear Miss Hidalgo is very young so that her voice may develop later; but until such time I should advise her vocal quiescence. Her stage appearance is good, and she acts with considerable spirit and vivacity; but at present her voice is thin and hard. The rest of the cast was pretty much as usual: Bonci a delightful Count, Pini-Corsi a humorous quasi parlando rather than singing Bartolo, and Forsell a pleasant voiced but rather stiff Figaro, much handicapped by his height, Podesti conducted rather raggedly, and in spite of some evident strong points the performance as a whole was decidedly below Metropolitan par. A vigorous and rather annoying claque was prominent in the proceedings.

The performance concluded with a ballet in the shape of a divertissement danced by Mlle. Pavlova and M. Mordkine, so superbly artistic in finish, grace and real elegance of style that it seemed a pity one was obliged to endure so much indifferent opera to get to it. The ballet consisted of three numbers-a Pas de Deux "Adagio" by Bleichmann and another "Russian Dance," with music by Alabieff, both arranged by Mordkine, and Chopin's D flat major waltz, "Le Papillon," arranged by Fokine, which, as danced by Pavlova, was a vision of rhythmic beauty in pure and airy fairy merriment. The ideal spirit of the dance embodied in the music and reproduced in artistic vein.

Charles Henry Meltzer, ?

Since the passing of Marcella Sembrich at the Metropolitan Opera House, more than one singer of ambition has aspired to take the place of that great artist in the coloratura roles of the Rossini, Donizetti, and Verdi repertoires. None, however, has yet succeeded in filling the void left by the departure of the Polish diva.

The latest, and not least, pleasing singer to enter the lists was heard last night in Elvira de Hidalgo, a young Spanish artist, said to be of noble family, who made her debut at the Metropolitan as Rosina in "The Barber of Seville." Mme. De Hidalgo has the petulance and piquancy of her age. She is pretty in a girlish, Latin way, and though she is quite innocent of histrionic art, that very fact did much to suggest the heroine of Rossini's opera.

Her voice is of unusual range, but not-judging from what we have heard of it-of the mostly lovely quality. One note, if not two notes, in the upper register of the newcomer was almost unpleasant for the ear, while her technic still leaves much to be desired, much to be polished. At present the young soprano is only an agreeable promise, which may or may not later on be fulfilled.
In the "Lesson Scene," Mlle. De Hidalgo interpolated the familiar "Air and Variations" of Proch, which many singers of more style that she can boast have found too much for them. She had neither the beauty of tone nor the mechanical skill needed to justice to Proch's rather exacting music. But something must be allowed for the nervousness of a debutante. The audience seemed pleased with the young singer and rewarded her in the "Lesson Scene" with an encore, to which after a few moments, charming doubly she responded.

Bonci last night repeated his many successes in the part of Almaviva. He was as usual, both spirited and effective in the second act, which gives him opportunities of demonstrating that, when necessary, he can be as amusing a comedian as well as a great singer. The cast included Didur as Basilio; Pini-Corsi as Dr. Bartolo, and Forsell, as Figaro. Mr. Podesti conducted.
As an epilogue, Anna Pavlova and Michael Mordkine lent their incomparable art and grace to the interpretations of three Russian character dances. One, a solo, was an interpretation of a Chopin waltz in D major, danced by Pavlova. The other two were the Bleichamann "Adagio," presented a week ago and pas de deux, arranged by Mr. Mordkine, with an accompaniment by Alabieff.

Review in Musical America

Aside from the American premiere on Saturday afternoon, March 5, of Tschaikowsky's "Pique Dame," of which there is an account elsewhere in this issue of Musical America, the principal new event of the past week at the Metropolitan Opera House was the debut of Elvira de Hidalgo, the Spanish coloratura soprano, of whose excessive youth and beauty so much has been written. The Seņorita appeared as Rosina in "Il Barbiere di Seviglia," on Monday evening, March 7.

Youth and beauty Miss Hidalgo unmistakably possesses and youth and beauty are much. But they are hardly sufficient qualifications in themselves for one who, would aspire to prima donna laurels at the Metropolitan. Unfortunately, they and the charm that goes with them were Miss. Hidalgo's principal reliance. A certain facility in the singing of florid music and some vivacity of acting and good stage appearance may also rightly be claimed for her. Otherwise, however, her limitations are as marked as the fact that she is but eighteen years old would naturally suggest. There is much promise, but no sign yet of real artistic fulfillment, and if patrons of the Metropolitan should bring forward the claim that they are entitled to the services of none but finished artists, it would be difficult to account to them under the circumstances of Monday night.

Miss Hidalgo's is a very small voice and very thin, not to say arid, in the upper register. In the lower and middle registers, though deficient in volume, it is not lacking in natural beauty. But it is exercised without evidence of much knowledge of phrasing and tone production. In the upper register Miss. Hidalgo displayed an agile staccato, but a tone so sharp and penetrating as to be positively disagreeable. This was especially apparent in the Proch's "Air and Variations," interpolated in the lesson scene.

In the matter of acting, the role of Rosina is not very exacting, and Miss Hidalgo's engaging appearance aided her to accomplish what was necessary in his respect, if not with distinction, at least with a fair show of skill. Even her voice has ripened and she has gained in experience, she will doubtless become an artist to reckon with. But that time is not yet, and, whatever may have been her much-advertised triumphs abroad, it is certain that she does not now measure up to the standard of the Metropolitan Opera House. Others in the Monday night cast were Mr. Bonci as Almaviva, Mr. Forsell as Figaro, Mr. Didur as Basilio, and Mr. Pini-Corsi as Bartolo, all of them in parts which they have often appeared here before. The orchestra played raggedly, under Mr. Podesta.

Mme. Pavlova and M. Mordkine, the wonderful Russians, gave a delightful ballet divertissement after the opera.

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