[Met Performance] CID:67410
La Fille du Régiment {17} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/17/1917.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 17, 1917
In Italian


LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT {17}

Marie.......................Frieda Hempel
Tonio.......................Fernando Carpi
Marquise of Berkenfield.....Marie Mattfeld
Sergeant Sulpice............Antonio Scotti
Hortentius..................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Duchesse of Krakentorp......Maria Savage
Peasant.....................Pietro Audisio
Corporal....................Louis D'Angelo
Notary......................Edward Alexander

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Review of Pitts Sanborn in the Commercial Advertiser

Delightful Comic Opera Heard at the Metropolitan.

The revival of "The Daughter of the Regiment," the second of the five revivals planned by the Metropolitan management for this season, took place at that house last evening after a ten days postponement due to the illness of Miss Hempel. The great Monday audience seemed to enjoy the sprightly and melodious work, unheard at the Metropolitan in nearly fifteen years, greeting its return with an enthusiastic cordiality that points to a prosperous sojourn. Its bright pictures of gayer side of war make the revival apt and cheerful at this season.

The last previous revival of "The Daughter of the Regiment" at the Metropolitan occurred in the season of 1901-2, with Mrs. Sembrich as Marie, Thomas Saligniac as Tonio, and the late Charles Gilibert as Sergeant Sulpice. It then had three or four performances as curtain raiser to "Cavalleria Rusticana." The following season, paired this time with "Pagliacci" (Alvarez singing Canio), it achieved seven performances.

This revival was in the original French version, without recitatives -unlike "L'Elisir d'Amore," written for Milan, and "Don Pasquale," written for the Theatre des Italiens at Paris, "The Daughter of the Regiment" was composed for the Paris Opera Comique, to a French text, of course, and few operas have had so many performances on that stage between the date of the original production, Feb. 11, 1840, and today.

The Metropolitan season of 1902-3 finished the consulship of Maurice Grau. In the autumn of 1903 Heinrich Conried succeeded Grau and did not retain for his company Salignac and Gilibert. Conried's first season began the Caruso era. Toward the end of that season he revived triumphantly "L'Elisir d'Amore" with Caruso and Sembrich, but "The Daughter of the Regiment" had vanished from the Metropolitan until last night.

Oscar Hammerstein gave it in the Italian version with the added recitatives, his last season at the Manhattan Opera House. The matchless Gilibert returned to the rôle of Sulpice, Mrs. Tetrazzini sang Marie, and John McCormack, Tonio. The work was given generally, if not always, in conjunction with "Pagliacci." It had several performances.

The current Metropolitan revival uses the Italian version, but nothing is combined with Donizetti's comedy. Miss Hempel takes the part most recently sung here by Mmes Sembrich, Tetrazzini, and beloved in the age of Jenny Lind, Sontag, Patti, and Clara Louise Kellogg; Mr. Carpi is the Tonio; Mr. Scotti, for the first time in his career, I am told, is appearing as Sergeant Sulpice.

Dating between "L'Elisir d'Amore" (1832) and "Don Pasquale" (1843), "The Daughter of the Regiment" is by no means the masterpiece of lyric comedy they are. A plausible explanation is at hand. Donizetti was an Italian. Each of the operas in question is an Italian opera buffa. Working in that field Donizetti was inspired with them each time to the point of writing a masterpiece of its kind. Composing "The Daughter of the Regiment" for the French stage he had in mind the contemporary school of French opera comique, which differed in other respects than spoken dialogue from opera buffa. In this Donizetti was an alien, and though he did his merriest with his comique he fell appreciably short of his achievement with his two famous Italian comedies, his earlier and his later opera buffa.

However, in making this admission one must not underrate the merits of '"The Daughter of the Regiment." No opera holds the stage, in the face of quickly shifting fashions in opera and the public taste, for seventy-eight years without substantial reason. "The Daughter of thee Regiment" is melodious, sprightly and, in parts, genuinely stirring. When it is well sung and gayly acted it makes a cheerful and welcome entertainment for the grim winter of 1917-18. Mr. Gatti-Casazza deserves hearty thanks for the revival.

The performance bubbled with infectious spirit, and rose well to the opportunities for fun, sentiment, and persuasive singing that the work provides. As Sergeant Sulpice Mr. Scotti adds one more to his gallery of memorable operatic portraits - one especially worth seeing because somewhat different from those most familiar to our public. In Marie Miss Hempel has perhaps her best part. She acted with delightful verve, beat the drum in masterly fashion, and sang like a lesser Tetrazzini, not neglecting the high E flat. Mr. Carpi acted better than he sang, but some of his singing was acceptable. The soldiers were a human lot and voiced their feelings lustily. Mr. Papi conducted with admirable vivacity and in general lightly enough. The Tricolor of France always drew from the house a salvo of applause and once, from Miss Hempel, a kiss.



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