[Met Performance] CID:6210
Faust {26} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/9/1887.

(Debut: Lena Göttich
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 9, 1887
In German


FAUST {26}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Faust...................Max Alvary
Marguerite..............Lilli Lehmann
Méphistophélès..........Emil Fischer
Valentin................Adolf Robinson
Siebel..................Louise Meisslinger
Marthe..................Lena Göttich [Debut]
Wagner..................Rudolph Von Milde
Dance...................Theodora De Gillert

Conductor...............Walter Damrosch

Director................Theodore Habelmann
Set Designer............Charles Fox, Jr.
Set Designer............William Schaeffer
Set Designer............Gaspar Maeder
Set Designer............Mr. Thompson
Costume Designer........D. Ascoli
Costume Designer........Henry Dazian

Translation by unknown

Faust received four performances this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE.

Gounod's "Faust" will always draw a good house, at least once during a season, and it packed the Metropolitan Opera House last evening. It is not a pleasant duty to state that the performance was not worthy of the audience. "Faust" cannot be successfully Wagnerized, and the attempt to substitute explosive declamation for the cantabile singing demanded by the score is always attended with lugubrious results. Gounod's masterpiece is a stumbling block to the extreme Wagnerites. It is so rich in music of a decidedly anti-Italian cast, even introducing an approach to a leit motif in one or two pieces, and generally tending toward a continuous flow of melody rather than toward set forms - though it contains some of these - that it cannot he fairly excluded from the German repertory on any more honest ground than an avowal of the inability of the artists to sing it well. The German libretto, which has a unique of unsingable vowels on the most difficult notes, does not help matters. Fräulein Lehmann's Marguerite was the best performance of the evening, but it was far from perfect, the soprano's attack of her high notes being conducted on a method of cautious approach which was inartistic and wearisome. Herr Alvary's voice is wholly unsuited to the title role, and those mixed vowel sounds played havoc with his tones. His singing of the entire garden scene was tentative and labored. Herr Fischer can both act and sing Mephistopheles; but he did neither last night. He meandered through the part in a leisurely manner, and sang with about enough force to guide the orchestra, but with not enough spirit to touch the audience. Herr Robinson sang Valentine fairly well, but he has lately fallen into the habit of using the tremolo to such an extent that almost every one of his notes is a shake. Fräulein Meisslinger sang Siebel as if the essence of youth were a largo. The best work of the evening was done by the orchestra, whose training in interpreting the complex and closely-woven scores of Wagner caused good results. Walter Damrosch conducted acceptably. 'The opera was well mounted, and the ballet enlivened the evening's proceedings considerably. If, however, many such performances are given at the Metropolitan the public may become impressed with the idea that the most pressing need of the establishment is a singing teacher.



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