[Met Performance] CID:49390
Orfeo ed Euridice {19}
Ballet Divertissement
. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/19/1910.

(Debuts: Theodore Stier, Mikail Moisseiew, Stanislava Kun, Bronislawa Pajitzskaia, Stephania Plaskowietzkaia, Albina Schmolz, Sergei Moroseff, Alexis Trojanowski, Veronine West

Metropolitan Opera House
December 19, 1910


Orfeo...................Louise Homer
Euridice................Marie Rappold
Amore...................Alma Gluck
Happy Shade.............Alma Gluck
Dance...................Marcelle Myrtille

Conductor...............Arturo Toscanini

Glinka: Polish Dances {1}
Bronislawa Pajitzskaia [Debut], Stanislava Kun [Debut], Stephania Plaskowietzkaia [Debut],
Alina Schmolz [Debut], Sergei Moroseff [Debut], Alexis Trojanowski [Debut], Veronine West [Debut]

Bleichmann: Adagio {4}
Anna Pavlova, Mikail Mordkin

Tchaikovsky: Variations [1}
Mikail Mordkin

Saint-SaŽns: The Dying Swan {2}
Anna Pavlova

Tchaikovsky: Russian Dances {1}
Bronislawa Pajitzskaia

Rubinstein: Valse Caprice [1}
Anna Pavlova, Mikail Mordkin

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 [4}
Bronislawa Pajitzskaia, Stanislava Kun, Stephania Plaskowietzkaia, Alina Schmolz,
Sergei Moroseff, Mikail Moisseiew [Debut], Alexis Trojanowski, Veronine West

Glazunov: Bacchanale {3}
Anna Pavlova, Mikail Mordkin

Conductor...............Theodore Stier [Debut]

Review of Algernon St. John Brenon in the Telegraph


"Orfeo ed Euridice," With Mme. Homer as Orfeo Given a Delightful Presentation


"Orfeo ed Euridice" was revived last night at the Metropolitan Opera House. The entirely successful performance of this opera just a year ago had certain merits. It established finally the claims of M. Gatti-Casazza in the position of sole director of the Metropolitan Opera House. It led to the revival of "Armide" as seen at the first night of the season, and generally speaking to a revival of interest in a master who in more ways than one was the predecessor of Wagner, the fount and origin of the modern music drama.

The myth of Orfeus has woven itself into the fabric of all poetry, ancient and modern, yet we can express a sincere doubt as to whether any of the makers of the austerely lovely literature of paganism, to say little of the moderns, have touched the deathless legend with the wand of a fancy more exquisite or more enchanting or have outlived it with a design more loftily concerned than has Gluck himself.

Gluck's music, indeed, with its reserve, its occasional severity, but also its justice of diction, is exactly within the taste and spirit of the "tragic three," who fathered all dramatic literature and who sternly bridling and governing their utterance, despised hysteria, complexity and overstatement as being beyond the region of purity and enduing forcefulness in expression. In this peculiar sense, as well as in most others, Gluck's "Orfeo" is a classic.

Given in Classical Spirit.

And it was in the classical spirit it was given last night. It was acted, it was danced, it was sung in this spirit. Let us remind our readers of this account. It comes from the studios of Paquereau. That representing the Elysian Fields, for instance, is painted by a man who has most evidently grasped the full poetry of the few lines of Virgil he had to rely on for what painters call the "Literature of the picture." It is not so much as his actual landscape as a dream landscape. It is what you imagine the Elysian Fields might be if they ever existed. We doubt if a New York audience has ever looked upon a lovelier presentiment of a lovely imagining. The classical scholars were deeply moved. Cynic contenders of the other learning began to think there was something in classical poetry after all.

The cast when compared with that heard last year had been changed. Mme. Gadski who sang Euridice last Christmas, is in Chicago. Mlle. Bella Alten, who sang Eros, was not to be heard. Nor was Leonora Sparkes who was to have taken her place. Mme. Sparkes fell ill and Miss Alma Gluck, already in the cast, as a Happy Shade, undertook Miss Sparkes' responsibilities at the last possible moment.

Rappold as Euridice.

Mme. Rappold - and she could be relied on for this - looked as little like Euridice as it would be possible for a woman of Madame Rappold's fine presence to look. When in the celebrated pantomime that has been admired for seven generations, she left the circle of the blessed ones so that her husband, forbidden to turn his eyes upon her, might recognize her by the touch of his hand, this Euridice did so with her head bowed down as if she were ashamed of herself. The blessed have no need for such awkward modesty. Her singing was as sweet and charming as ever, but her acting, beside this fervor, the variety and the real emotion of Madame Homer, was blunt, negative, and inexpressive.

Madame Homer's Orfeo is a remarkable representation. Would that some of her other roles were enlivened to the same facial play, the same poetry of response and picturesque gesture, the same infallible correctness of general attitude. To those who have seen her too inflexible Amneris, or her over-invigorated Azucena, this Orfeo of hers will come as a revelation, and she herself will show herself another woman. Even her voice seems to gain in fire, strength, and dominance.

Miss Alma Gluck, in the rosy garments of Cupid, and also as one of the souls in the gardens of Elysium, to act all things with the fragrance of youth and the rippling clarion music of the most amiable and captivating voices.

Mr. Toscanini's conducting was peerless.

The night's entertainment was prolonged by the Russian dancers, Mikhail Mordkin and Anna Pavlova, who were heartily welcomed after their long tour. They danced a familiar programme.

Review of Henry Charles Meltzer in the New York Herald

Beautiful Performance of the Revived Classic at the Metropolitan

The "double" bill with which the management of the Metropolitan began another week last night was - praised be heaven! - not made up in the usual way. It opened with Gluck's stately and beautiful "Orfeo ed Euridice." A work which even after a career of a century and a half, still charms and holds the operagoer. It ended with a group of varied dances, interpreted by Pavlova, Modkin and their colleagues of the Russian Imperial Ballet Company.

"Orfeo" had not been heard here since last season, when although much admired, it caused upheavals, owing to the differences of the eminent French singer Marie Delna, and the equally eminent conductor, Maestro Toscanini. The departure of Mme. Delna has restored the part of Orfeo to our American contralto Louise Homer, by whom it was interpreted when Gluck's noble work was revived one year ago at the Metropolitan. Comparisons would be as unseemly as unnecessary. Criticism is still permissible.

Mme. Homer has composed the character of the faithful poet-singer with rare intelligence. Though herself womanly in the most lovely ways, she lends a quality which might almost be called gentlemaness to Orfeo. By deft costuming and appropriate gesture she makes it possible for the spectator to accept her, if not as a real man, at least not as a woman.

Some Tones Uncertain.

As to the singing of the part of Orfeo last night by Mme. Homer I am unable to speak with the usual enthusiasm. The suavity, the smoothness which are essential to a perfect rendering of Gluck's airs and scenes were sometimes missing in the "Inferno" act. Mme. Homer more than twice or thrice disturbed the even flow of her long phrases to take breath. There and at other points, the rich full tones which as a rule she gives us, came uncertainly. Some passing weakness may have caused the little failings which marred Mme. Homer's work. As a "creation" or interpretation of one of the most exacting roles in opera, the Orfeo of the American contralto was none the less admirable. The flaws were not in the interpretation, but in the execution.

In the lovely first act Mme. Homer again substituted the interpolated "Divinities du Styx" for the aria which Gluck wrote for it. Her rendering of the immortal "Che faro senza Eurydice" later in the opera showed her at her finest. It may be noted, just in passing, that the air was doubtless taken with the approval of Mr. Toscanini - much more slowly than last year, when the usual quickening of the tempo by the distinguished conductor stirred up protest.

Alma Gluck Charms.

Marie Rappold succeeded Johanna Gadski in the role of Eurydice. She brought a modern and incongruous note into a classic and idyllic opera, first by improperly confining her waist with a Parisian corset and next by singing her part in the spirit of Verdi rather than of a composer of the eighteenth century. The voice of Mme. Rappold, although beautiful, is ill suited to Gluck's music. Lastly and chiefly, Mme. Rappold has not yet mastered the great charm of style.

And, on the other hand, though still quite young, Alma Gluck, who interpreted the character of the "Happy Shade" (Un Ombra Felice), delighted us no less by the exquisite purity and freshness of her voice than by her style and by a certain gracious tenderness with which she alone of all the many singers at the Metropolitan seems gifted. Besides appearing as the Shade, Me. Gluck accompanied the difficult feat of singing the short part of Cupid (Amore) at short notice in the place of Mme. Sparkes. She was warmly applauded.

The orchestra was at its best. It was almost flawless. Every shading and delicacy of Gluck's beautiful score was done justice to by the musicians under the direction of Mr. Toscanini, The chorus was effective and tuneful. But the ballet, as last year, was much less impr4essive in the "Inferno" episode than in the dainty and poetic scene in the Elysian Fields.

For reasons known to the management, the lighting of the Hades scene was again changed at intervals, without advantage to the picture and with offense to taste. This, however, is the only objection than can be raised against what was, on the whole, one of the finest presentations of a classic work ever attempted at the Metropolitan Opera House.

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