[Met Performance] CID:64450
United States Premiere
Francesca da Rimini {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/22/1916.
 (United States Premiere)
(Debuts: Queenie Smith, Pieretto Bianco
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 22, 1916
United States Premiere


FRANCESCA DA RIMINI {1}
Zandonai-D'Annunzio/Ricordi

Francesca da Rimini.....Frances Alda
Paolo...................Giovanni Martinelli
Giovanni................Pasquale Amato
Malatestino.............Angelo Badà
Samaritana..............Edith Mason
Smaragdi................Flora Perini
Garsenda................Lenora Sparkes
Biancofiore.............Mabel Garrison
Altichiara..............Sophie Braslau
Donella.................Raymonde Delaunois
Simonetto...............Pompilio Malatesta
Ostasio.................Riccardo Tegani
Toldo...................Pietro Audisio
Maid of Honor...........Queenie Smith [Debut]
Berlingerio.............Vincenzo Reschiglian
Archer..................Max Bloch

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

Director................Jules Speck
Set designer............Mario Sala
Set designer............Pieretto Bianco, Act II only [Debut]
Costume designer........Caramba

Francesca da Rimini received seven performances this season.

[Frances Alda's costumes were designed by Hildreth Meière.]


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

As for the performance, it is generally good, though by no means great. Alda is entrusted with the role of Francesca, in which she wears five gorgeous costumes. Her impersonation is an adventure into that larger dramatic field to which we have all been warned she was advancing. There is much to admire and something to regret in her portraiture of the matchless daughter the Polentani. The legend of Paolo and Francesca is one of the immortal tales of a grand passion. In all human probability the full measure of' 'love insatiable' was never taken in music but once, and we cannot expect a second "Tristan und Isolde" so soon. D'Annunzio's Francesca is the enshrined object of that mystic medieval adoration which was always separated from fleshly sin by a thin veil of circumstance. In one sense she is a faint replica of Beatrice, for in the soul of Dante Beatrice is womankind, the one and eternal.
.
Mme. Alda bent under the burden. She tried bravely to convey to the audience the experiences of a "grande dame" whose world was overturned by the invasion of something elemental and, who suffered proper agonies before she was ready to throw discretion to the winds. The true Francesca was far more than this, yet Mme. Alda's own inadequate conception was beyond her histrionic abilities. She sang much of the music with good effect, but her voice was not equal to the heavier demands of the score.

What the other principal members of the cast had to do was well done. Mr. Martinelli was all that he could be as Paolo, namely a stereotyped Italian tenor. Mr. Amato roared and raged most alarmingly as the despot and successfully got the effects designed by the opera makers. There was some tragic force in his Fourth act. The four attendant women carolled charmingly. Mr. Bada unhappily cannot sing well and little was made known by him of the music of Malatestino, but he put to its credit an excellent piece of acting, indeed the most distinguished bit in the entire representation.

Mr. Polacco conducted and despite formidable obstacles in the period of preparation made the lines and colors of the work stand out clearly. The steady soldiers of the chorus and orchestra answered with perfect discipline the commands of their general.


Production photos of Francesca da Rimini by White Studio.



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