[Met Performance] CID:61140
Tosca {114} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/27/1915.

(Debut: Louise Edvina
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 27, 1915 Matinee


TOSCA {114}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Tosca...................Louise Edvina [Debut and Only performance]
Cavaradossi.............Enrico Caruso
Scarpia.................Antonio Scotti
Sacristan...............Robert Leonhardt
Spoletta................Angelo Badà
Angelotti...............Giulio Rossi
Sciarrone...............Bernard Bégué
Shepherd................Sophie Braslau
Jailer..................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Giorgio Polacco

Director................Jules Speck

Tosca received five performances this season.

Unsigned review in the New York Press

Prima donnas are so scarce just now in the Metropolitan Opera House that Giulio Gatti-Casazza had to borrow one yesterday afternoon from Campanini's Chicago Company in order to provide Enrico Caruso with a competent artistic associate.

Before Lucrezia Bori's unfortunate indisposition "Manon Lescaut" with the little Spanish soprano and Enrico Caruso in the cast had been on the schedule. As no substitute seemed to be available for the Puccini opera when Senorita Bori's name was put on the sick list, the management found it necessary to present some other work in the Italian tenor's repertory, so that, whatever else happened, he might have the second of his two guaranteed weekly appearances. Verily, it is not child's play to run an operatic infirmary!

It seemed a pity, though, that Mme. Edvina, who had come at short notice all the way from Chicago in order to help the Metropolitan Opera Company out of a serious dilemma, could not have been introduced to critical New Yorkers in a role better suited to her voice, her temperament and her style than the suffering heroine of Puccini's "Tosca." Certainly the Canadian soprano was heard to far greater advantage in the title role of Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini" less than two years ago in Covent Garden, London, and presumably the same could be said of her Fiora in "L'amore dei tre Re," a performance that evoked paeans of praise from the critics of Fiora.

Mme. Edvina is essentially a lyric soprano. Her voice is agreeable in quality when used in a work that her distinguished master, Jean de Reszke, would approve. The floating quality of her tone reminds one coincidentally of other pupils of the great Polish tenor - of Maggie Teyte and May Peterson. But the Canadian soprano did things yesterday upon which any singing teacher would frown,the method of no less a singer, indeed, than Mary Garden, she always exhibited her tones in a slow upward glide. To be more explicit, she generally would attack a tone several notes below the one prescribed, and then slide up to the correct pitch. Such a mannerism is not only musically reprehensible, but distinctly inartistic.

Lack of Emotional Warmth

It was not that bad habit, however, which caused Mme. Edvina to begin the "Vissi d'arte" aria on D instead of E flat natural. Nor was this the only error with which the conductor, Giorgio Polacco, had to reckon. Miss Edvina has a pleasant personality and an attractive stage presence. But she lacks emotional warmth and the temperament and the dramatic force to give a convincing Tosca. Her action at all times yesterday seemed carefully calibrated and artificial, and her facial expression suggested anger or irritation, not anguish or despair. Evidently, Miss Edvina is not a tragedienne. She should be heard as Louise in Charpentier's opera, not Puccini's.

Caruso and Scotti in Cast

In other respects the cast was perfectly familiar, though Enrico Caruso , who sang with great vocal and emotional eloquence has not appeared often as Mario in recent years. Antonio Scotti gave again his much admired portrayal of Scarpia, and thanks to his artistic skill and cleverness, successfully bridged some pages in the second act that taxed his voice even though transposed to a lower tonality.

Robert Leonhardt once more appeared as the Sacristan, Angelo Bada as Spoletta, Giulio Rossi as Angelotti, Bernard Begue as Sciaronne and Reschiglian as the Goaler. Sophie Braslau sang the chant of the shepherd. The musical performance under Giorgio Polacco's vigorous beat, was decidedly robust. There were many recalls for the principals after each set. But Mme. Edvina, with becoming modesty, did not seek an opportunity to appear before the curtain alone.



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