[Met Performance] CID:54637
Manon {43} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/01/1913.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 1, 1913 Matinee


MANON {43}

Manon...................Geraldine Farrar
Des Grieux..............Enrico Caruso
Lescaut.................Dinh Gilly
Count des Grieux........Léon Rothier
Guillot.................Albert Reiss
Brétigny................Andrés De Segurola
Poussette...............Lenora Sparkes
Javotte.................Jeanne Maubourg
Rosette.................Maria Duchène
Innkeeper...............Paolo Ananian
Guard...................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Guard...................Bernard Bégué
Maid....................Maria Savage

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


Review of Max Smith in the New York Press

Though somewhat pale from the exertions of conducting on Friday evening a performance of "Tristan und Isolde" that will ache in the memory as one of the most intensely moving interpretations of that immortal score heard in recent years, Arturo Toscanini devoted himself with undiminished ardor yesterday afternoon in the Metropolitan Opera House to Massenet's "Manon," in which Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso as usual impersonated the two principal roles.

Not until the great Italian maestro took the work in hand, toward the close of last season, did that opera ever exert any particular fascination on New Yorkers. Even the most scintellant stellar persuasions had failed in former years to rouse the public from its diffidence. For any one, however, who compares the "Manon" now offered in our big lyric theatre to the performances of other days the change of feeling is not difficult to understand. Toscanini's genius has not affected only the orchestra, which under his baton wrings from Massenet's music an emotional potency, an impassioned vehemence of expression, undreamed of perhaps even by the composer himself; it has vitalized and electrified the singing and acting of every artist on the stage, especially of Geraldine Farrar.

Under Toscanini's tutelage Miss Farrar's embodiment of Manon has passed through a remarkable change. It has so ripened, broadened and deepened musically and dramatically, that it represents to all intents and purposes an entirely new achievement - one, indeed, which the American soprano has never surpassed. One of Miss Farrar's most conspicuous faults has always been her consciousness of self. Those characters which call for ingenuousness, simplicity, naiveté, still offer problems to her which she is apparently unable to solve.

But of late Miss Farrar has shown an ability to sink her identity into that of the role impersonated - or to create that impression at least -- and a power of infusing not only into her singing but also into her acting the accents of true emotional feeling which she did not disclose in years gone by. That was why she obtained such impressive results in the turbulent scene with Des Grieux at the close of the third act yesterday, supported by the flaming torch of Toscanini's baton and quickened by the temperamental fervor of her great tenor associate. Her facial expression, her action and the modulations of her voice seemed to be genuine manifestations of inner impulses.

From every point of view, in fact, yesterday's performance of "Manon" was a remarkably stirring one. In excellent voice, Caruso sang the music of Des Grieux not only with the utmost dramatic eloquence, but with fine artistic skill. Dinh Gilly, too, gave an admirable portrayal of Lescaut and Leon Rothier a dignified and artistically finished study of the venerable Count des Grieux.



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