[Met Performance] CID:55550
United States Premiere
L'Amore dei Tre Re {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/2/1914.
 (United States Premiere)
(Debuts: Edoardo Ferrari-Fontana, Giuseppe Mancini

Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 2, 1914
United States Premiere


L'AMORE DEI TRE RE {1}
Montemezzi-S. Benelli

Fiora...................Lucrezia Bori
Avito...................Edoardo Ferrari-Fontana [Debut]
Manfredo................Pasquale Amato
Archibaldo..............Adamo Didur
Flaminio................Angelo Badà
Maid....................Jeanne Maubourg
Young Woman.............Sophie Braslau
Old Woman...............Maria Duchène
Youth...................Pietro Audisio
Undesignated role.......Elsa Foerster

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

Director................Jules Speck
Set Designer............Mario Sala
Costume Designer........Giuseppe Mancini [Debut]

L'Amore dei Tre Re received five performances this season.

[Title in English: The Love of Three Kings.]




Review of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun


"L'Amore dei Tre Re," a tragic poem in three acts by Sam Benelli, music by Italo Montemezzi, was performed for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening. The work was produced at La Scala Theatre, Milan, last winter and had a real success. That it will be received in this city with general approval ought to be the result, for the opera is one of high and unusual merits. The libretto is many degrees above the level upon which conventional opera books move. Benelli's tragedy is one of immense power, of innate human vitality, throbbing with emotions, and showing fundamental passions flaming in all their destructive activity.

Montemezzi's music is of importance in many respects, but perhaps in none more than in its complete freedom from the influence of Puccini. The young composer should not hastily be set down as a follower of any other master. He is rather to be regarded as eclectic. He writes always melodious music, and most of the time he clings to simple tonalities. Occasionally behind a melody diatonic in its outlines he puts a background of changeful harmonies. He employs cross-rhythms with easy mastery. He uses representative themes, but does not make himself their slave. The few leading motives are enunciated clearly in places where they have the most poignant meaning, and after that are permitted to rest in peace. The orchestration is beautiful throughout. It combines an endless variety of color with a fastidious perception of fitness in its application, and the prevailing character of the whole is luminous transparency. He knows also how to create the vocal part of his score. His declamation is entirely modern, but quite free from the strained progressions so common in recent music. The union of the music with the text, not only in expression of the moods but also in the almost intangible reproduction of the literary style, is extraordinary. Whether this work will have a success with opera goers, whether it will be received into the permanent repertory of the Metropolitan, is certainly of no concern to this writer. The case now goes to the jury, the public. We shall, however, be astonished if the jury does not return a verdict "Dignus honore."

The production adds much to the artistic standing of the Metropolitan Opera House. Without question the first honors must be awarded to Arturo Toscanini, who absorbed the score in three weeks and conducted the opera with superb mastery. His orchestra sang the passionate lyric poetry with opulence of tone and with an infinite variety of eloquent nuance. Miss Bori must have astonished her most devoted admirers by her impersonation of Fiora. To summarize briefly, it was lovely in its pictorial quality and sung almost flawlessly. Mr. Ferrari-Fontana, the husband of Mme. Matzenauer, made his first New York appearance as Avito, the lover. He was the original Avito at La Scala. It may be said without hesitation that he sent an electric shock through the Metropolitan. Of the other two principals something may be said at another day.



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