[Met Performance] CID:49490
La Fanciulla del West {4} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/26/1910.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 26, 1910


LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST {4}

Minnie..................Emmy Destinn
Dick Johnson............Enrico Caruso
Jack Rance..............Pasquale Amato
Joe.....................Glenn Hall
Handsome................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Harry...................Pietro Audisio
Happy...................Antonio Pini-Corsi
Sid.....................Giulio Rossi
Sonora..................Dinh Gilly
Trin....................Angelo Badà
Jim Larkens.............Bernard Bégué
Nick....................Albert Reiss
Jake Wallace............Andrés De Segurola
Ashby...................Adamo Didur
Post Rider..............Lamberto Belleri
Castro..................Edoardo Missiano
Billy Jackrabbit........Georges Bourgeois
Wowkle..................Marie Mattfeld

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

Review and account of Charles Henry Meltzer in the New York Herald

Authors of 'Haensel und Gretel" and of "The Girl" Both on Metropolitan Stage

BOTH WORKS DRAW CROWDS

Hundreds Turned Away After Vain Attempts to Witness the Puccini Opera

Christmas, the official Christmas of 1910, will be marked with a white stone in the annals of the Metropolitan. Twice yesterday - once in the afternoon and once in the evening - the house was crowded with an eager throng of music lovers. The earlier audience bought out many children to hear the first performance this season of Humperdinck's "Haensel und Gretel." They had come under the aegis of their elders. For "Haensel und Gretel" is a joy to old and young. There are greater operas in the repertory, but few more beautiful. The story it tells is sweet and pure. The sentiment which marks it is relieved by humor, and Humperdinck has set it most lovely music. What more could one wish for Christmastide?

The Haensel was once more Marie Mattfeld, a young artist who is making steady progress. The Gretel was Bella Alten, who had trimmed her hair in a new way which gave a needless touch of fashion to the heroine. Both Marie Mattfeld and Bella Alten have sung their parts much better than they did yesterday. But both were bright and real and truly childlike which atoned for certain vocal faults and sins.

Albert Reiss, the tenor, for the first time here sang the music of the Witch. I cannot congratulate him on his achievement. There were times when he "flatted" dismally. But, on the other hand, he acted with much spirit. The small, but not unimportant part of the San Man, was murdered by Lillia Snelling and Leonora Sparkes was not impressive as the Dew Man. Otto Goritz and Florence Wickham supplied the desired humor in the roles of the two parents in the case, and fourteen ladies of the chorus did their level best to make the Angel's hymning tuneful.

Composer Responds to Call.

In the second act, the golden stairs to which we had grown accustomed were replaced by a new background. It was more pleasing than the old one - to the eye. But it did not suggest the vision of the children to the thoughtful mind. When the curtain fell for good there were loud calls for Humperdinck, who responded looking horribly frightened. Hundreds of people were unable to get seats for the performance. And this seems more remarkable if one reflects that with the possible exception of Otto Goritz, no singer in the cast was what - to speak commercially - is called a "star."

Later in the evening al least 1,000 people stood patiently in line outside the opera house on the off chance of getting, if not seats, at least admission to the first performance at regular prices of Puccini's "Girl of the Golden West." The Italians had come out in serried ranks to judge the newest work of their compatriot. So excited was their interest that some of them perceiving the hopelessness of the attempt to reach the box office, got in by the fire escape. One was arrested. Then a thousand people were barred out when the curtain rose. It must have been difficult for them to tell from the big dailies (or from the cables in the Milan newspapers) whether Puccini had disgraced himself in "La Fanciulla" or outdone his "La Bohème." Last night however, they did not approach the opera in critical caviling mood.

They had come to judge. But chiefly to enjoy themselves. The dramatic incidents in the opera made the inevitable impression. At the end of the first act the vast audience shouted for Caruso, Amato and Destinn, who bowed their acknowledgements. Then it shrieked for Puccini, who appeared twice. Lastly it called for Toscanini. He was not backward. As before, the performance of 'The Girl" was admirable. It reflected credit on the singer and musicians, the chorus and conducting.



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