[Met Performance] CID:49940
Germania {8} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/1/1911.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 1, 1911


GERMANIA {8}
Franchetti-Illica

Ricke...................Emmy Destinn
Federico................Enrico Caruso
Carlo...................Pasquale Amato
Stapps..................Adamo Didur
Crisogono...............Antonio Pini-Corsi
Jane....................Alma Gluck
Palm....................Giulio Rossi
Lützow..................William Hinshaw
Police Chief............Edoardo Missiano
Lene....................Marie Mattfeld
Hedvige.................Marie Mattfeld
Peters..................Giuseppe Cottino
Jebbel..................Lenora Sparkes
Youth...................Rita Barillo
Lady....................Jeanne Maubourg

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

Director................Jules Speck
Set Designer............Antonio Rovescalli
Set Designer............Mario Sala
Costume Designer........Adolfo Hohenstein
Costume Designer........E. S. Freisinger

Germania received two performances this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times (Richard Aldrich?)

BRILLIANT REVIVAL MADE OF "GERMANIA"

Baron Alberto Franchetti's Opera Sung With Vigor at the Metropolitan

A PICTURESQUE WORK

Mme. Destinn, Caruso and Amato in Chief Parts - pictorial Costumes and Handsome Scenic Display

Baron Alberto Franchetti's opera "Germania," which was first produced in this country last season, on Jan. 22, 1910 at the Metropolitan Opera House, was given again there last evening for the first time this season. Baron Franchetti is an ambitious Italian nobleman, a connection of the Rothschild family; it is not stated that he has ever been a banker, but it has occurred to him to write operas, as Wagner said of another wealthily connected composer of the last century, who had, in his day, even more success than Baron Franchetti has had; by name, Meyerbeer.

"Germania" was given five times last season at the Metropolitan Opera House, and it undoubtedly exercised a certain attraction upon the operagoing public. How much of this was owing to the appearance in it of Mr. Caruso, Mme. Destinn, and Mr. Amato among the chief characters, and how much to the qualities of the opera itself, is not easy to say. Few operas fail to appeal to the public when so performed. The work is pleasing; it is written with skill, some musical invention, some command of orchestration, it embodies a sense for dramatically effective situations; it has romantic feeling, picturesque suggestion both for the eye and ear; large throngs in decorative costumes are massed upon the stage and sing sonorous choruses; historical personages appear and mingle with the throng; there is a complicated love story involved, in which the three leading singers are called upon to sing impassioned airs, duets and concerted pieces. There is effective local color, drawn from the distracted Germany of the Napoleonic times, with its conspiracies and the battle of Leipzig; German folk songs, student songs, and a stirring chorus of Webers "Lutzow's Wilde Jagd" are heard.

As for the music, those who look beneath the surface will not find much to give them an entirely solid satisfaction in "Germania." Baron Franchetti has a vein of melodic invention that flows freely if not powerfully. His musical ideas are not often of distinction, nor are they of great originality; he is far from being a new creative force in music. He is no innovator. He is a modern Italian, and he avails himself of the musical speech of modern Italy, though not of what is now the most modern; and this in spite of all his deliberate Germanizing. The voices of some of his contemporaries, from Verdi onward, may be heard in this score. He cannot be said to have any strongly marked individual style of his own.

But there is not lacking in "Germania" that which will give pleasure. Though the composer does not write dramatic music with the highest skill and power that grasps the dramatic situation and heightens and illumines it in his music, his score has much that is rich and agreeable. His mastery of orchestration is by no means small. He commands varied color effects and dramatic suggestion. He writes fluently for the voice, and does not balk at giving his singers airs, well-sustained Cantilena. He is especially successful in writing large and sounding choruses. it is unfortunate that in places where the music most needs power and poignancy, as in the Epilogue, after the battle of Leipzig, a grisly scene, in which emotions are strained. It lacks those qualities. It is also unfortunate that the situation and the music are sometimes developed at inordinate length, as in the scene at the cottage in the Black Forest in the first, (following the prologue) although this contains same of the best music of the opera.

The performance was, like last year's, an excellent one, even brilliant, into which Toscanini put much spirit and energy. Mr. Amato and Mme. Destinn did the best singing as Worms and Ricke, among those who took the leading parts. Mr. Caruso did not exhibit the usual beauty and power of his tones in his passages in the prologue, though he was more himself in the later scenes, and in the long duet in the first act sung with fervor and was much applauded. There was a fine energy in the playing of the orchestra, and the chorus had an opportunity to accomplish its best.

The opera is provided with unusually handsome scenic decorations, and there is an abundance of pictorial costume of the early years of the last century.



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