[Met Performance] CID:6810
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
L'Africaine {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/7/1888.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 7, 1888
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In German (Translator Unknown)


L'AFRICAINE {1}
Meyerbeer-Scribe

Sélika..................Fanny Moran-Olden
Vasco de Gama...........Julius Perotti
Inès....................Sophie Traubmann
Nélusko.................Adolf Robinson
Pedro...................Emil Fischer
Diégo...................Ludwig Mödlinger
Alvar...................Albert Mittelhauser
Grand Inquisitor........Eugene Weiss
High Priest.............Emil Fischer
Anna....................Emmy Miron
Dance...................Etiènne Vergé

Conductor...............Anton Seidl

Director................Theodore Habelmann
Set Designer............Henry E. Hoyt
Costume Designer........Henry Dazian
Lighting Designer.......James Stuart, Jr.

L'Africaine received five performances in German this season.

[Alternate titles: L'Africana; The African Maid.]

Unsigned review in The New York Times

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE.

Meyerbeer's opera "L'Africaine" was presented at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening before the largest audience that has thus far assembled during the present season. The work has not been heard here for three years, and the reputation already established. by the company now at the Opera House for ability in singing aided the freshness of the lyric play in drawing people to the performance. Moreover, it had been widely announced that there was to be more than ordinary scenic glory in the production, and this, too, had its due effect. The performance in general was an uncommonly good one. The company was laboring under the disadvantage of having had only one full rehearsal, but this appeared to have little injurious influence on the evening's proceedings. The opera is not a monumental work of dramatic art, but it affords abundant opportunity for the display of cantabile singing and of high notes. It is unnecessary to say that Herr Julius Perotti did not neglect his opportunities. He hurled his high notes into the auditorium with a reckless profusion that filled the upper part of the house with a deep and abiding joy. It cannot be said that Herr Perotti indulged in anything else that was notable in the way of vocalization, but he acted his part with considerable earnestness. Frau Moran-Olden added to the laurels she has already won by a finely dramatic and forcible performance of the African beauty. She sang with great care and seldom departed seriously from the pitch. Fräulein Traubmann was overweighted by the role of Inez, but she sang her music with a fresh and unworn voice that was agreeable to hear. Herr Robinson's voice - it is sad to be compelled to say it - is badly worn and most of its noble quality is gone, but his art as a singer and his unfailing sincerity as an actor made his performance of Nelusko extremely interesting. Herr Fischer was admirable as Don Pedro. The remaining members of the cast were tolerable. The reputation of the Metropolitan Opera House for mounting operas is beyond question, and it has been fully sustained in this instance. There is a wide scope in "L'Africaine" for the fancy of the scene painter, the property man, and the costumer. The ship scene, with its final attack of savages, fire and fusillade of arms, is one of those pieces of stage display that can always be turned to good account. The ship last evening was a fine specimen of Spanish marine architecture, with ornamental bulwarks, a topgallant poop deck that loomed up like the walls of a fortress, brass cannons, and a bravery of painted canvas and tarred hemp. She took fire in the most approved manner as the savages came pouring over her sides with whoop and axe, and the curtain descended on a stirring scene. The realms of Selika were a blaze of glory, and the famous procession never glittered with a greeter opulence of barbaric splendor. The stage was crowded with people attired in gorgeous dresses, and, indeed, it was a remarkably showy spectacle. The final scene of the poisonous grove was well built and painted, and Selika died in a most suitable place. Altogether the production reflected the greatest credit on the painstaking and energetic director, Edmund C. Stanton. Herr Seidl conducted all and did his work with care.



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