[Met Performance] CID:61180
Manon {54} Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 11/30/1915.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 30, 1915


MANON {54}
Massenet-Meilhac/Gille

Manon...................Frances Alda
Des Grieux..............Enrico Caruso
Lescaut.................Antonio Scotti
Count des Grieux........Léon Rothier
Guillot.................Albert Reiss
Brétigny................Andrés De Segurola
Poussette...............Lenora Sparkes
Javotte.................Sophie Braslau
Rosette.................Maria Duchène
Innkeeper...............Robert Leonhardt
Guard...................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Guard...................Bernard Bégué
Maid....................Maria Savage

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

Director................Jules Speck
Set Designer............Antonio Rovescalli
Costume Designer........Maison Chiappa

Manon received three performances this season.


Review signed F. L. W. in the Philadelphia Public Ledger

A distinguished performance of Massenet's "Manon" in French was given by the Metropolitan Company last evening to an audience that filled the seating capacity of the Metropolitan Opera House and gave overt evidence of its delight in all it heard and saw at every opportunity. Indeed, the eagerness to bestow plaudits sadly interfered with the coda to Caruso's chief aria, breaking in upon some of his most effective notes at the close of the "Ah! fuyez douce image."

As the Chevalier Des Grieux the picture the great tenor offered is better left out of the reckoning, when all may be forgiven to the glorious voice. There is still enough of that splendid organ left to make a dozen ordinary tenors, and still at the climaxes there rang out clarion tones that carried all before them and offered transports of enthusiasm in the listeners.

At the entr'acte Caruso evinced his usual frolicsome disposition, tearing the hat from his head or he passed out of dress tweaking the robe of his sober seminarian garb and winking and grimacing at the audience after the St. Suplice scene as though glad to be relived of the burden of the Chevalier's sorrowful lot if only for the few minutes of the scene-shifter's monopoly of the stage. Indeed most of his acting, as usual, was done before the curtain. On the singing the salient strength of the role of course depended, and however dubious the throat-clearing preliminaries may now and then have been, somehow the large and lustrous notes were always there, triumphant and beautiful, when they had to be produced.

Frances Alda was a delightful, indeed an ideal, Manon. She belonged to this century and to the environment, and she had stepped directly from the vivid pages of the Abbe Prevost's story. She never ever sang and she never ever acted. In any part she assumes her conscience and finesse are noteworthy, and never was this more true the case than last evening. The adieu to the table was invested with convincing pathos in gesture and pantomime and mobility of feature, She is an actress of grace and authority. In the St. Suplice scene, as she entered distractedly seeking her lover, the rose-velvet cloak against the walnut-toned wainscoting was lovely to behold. Manager Gatti-Casazza in his creditable desire to be strictly impartial has not given us enough chances to hear this excellent artist, who, in private life, is Madame Gatti-Casazza.

It was good to hear Scotti and to have his animated stage-presence as Manon's cousin. If the voice is not all that it used to be, it is so dexterously conserved that the veteran artist's participation is still greatly to be desired. Albert Reiss made much of the lesser role of Guillot, and Leon Rothier was a fine Padre, costumed to a particularly delectable effect, a Velasquez portrait in sleek-grey tones come alive. That such artists as Leonora Sparkes, Sophie Braslau. Maria Duchene, and Andres de Segurola were entrusted with roles that gave them little to do, is significant of the high standard of the production. Giorgio Polacco admirably marshaled the ensemble and brought the fourth act in particular to a splendid climax at the close, after the brief trio, in which the voices of Manon, Des Grieux and Lescaut were deliciously blended.



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