[Met Performance] CID:70050
Thaïs {14} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/16/1918.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 16, 1918 Matinee


THAÏS {14}
Massenet-Gallet

Thaïs...................Geraldine Farrar
Athanaël................Robert Couzinou
Nicias..................Rafaelo Díaz
Palémon.................Léon Rothier
Crobyle.................Raymonde Delaunois
Myrtale.................Minnie Egener
Albine..................Sophie Braslau
Servant.................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

Conductor...............Pierre Monteux

Director................Richard Ordynski
Set designer............Pieretto Bianco

Thaïs received six performances this season.


Review of Reginald de Koven in the World:

It was certainly most fitting and appropriate that a performance of Massenet's "Thais" should follow one of Meyerbeer's "Le Prophete" at the Metropolitan last night, because what Meyerbeer as a dramatic and scenic composer was to his day, so is Massenet to ours. Both realized the stage and its essential requirements in opera equally as in drama; both were master craftsmen and technicians.

But whereas the one gave of his abundant mediocre store liberally, even prodigally - one can never accuse Meyerbeer of melodic reticence - the other, as in most prolific writers, was saving, even parsimonious in the display of his material. And yet both with unfailing mastery knew how to effectively illustrate drama in music pictorially and appropriately, and with an equally sure hand played upon the senses and sensibilities of their audiences. The one more broadly, the other perhaps more subtly and, in the modern sense, more suggestively. And yet there is plenty of reclamé in Massenet's sonorous orchestral period. I have, however, a very strong and clinging suspicion that Mr. Massenet would not haven been better pleased with the performance given his opera at the Metropolitan last night than I was.

Those of us who have had the privilege of seeing Miss Garden as Thais, and could bear the same in memory, must account Miss Farrar as but a very faint and shadowy substitute. I remember that panther-like entrance of Miss Garden so alert and sinuous, swirling her roses around the stage, and felt that Miss Farrar, picturesque and pretty though she was, fell very far short. She sang the "Mirror" song indeed with good effect, but I cannot think the role is for her from any standpoint, vocal or dramatic. I may often have to poignantly regret my artistic memories, but I cannot obliterate them even if I would.

Then again the fact that Mr. Couzinou as Athanael sang in good style, with excellent diction and played with no little dramatic intelligence and conviction, did not remove the unsatisfying impression that his voice sounded thin and lacking both in color and luster. And here again undying memories of Mr. Renaud in the role came to mind to interfere with great enjoyment. Diaz as Nicias and Rothier as Palemon were quite sufficiently good, and the minor roles in including Miss Sophie Braslau, who is certainly worthy of better opportunity, were adequately filled.

In fact the outer shell of an operatic performance worthy of the Metropolitan in the way of scenery, costume, chorus, ballet and orchestra was all there, but the inner kernel in the way of really adequate and impressive vocal representation in keeping with these other accessories was lacking, though M. Monteux in spirit and energy helped along the performance to the best of his undoubted ability. The vigorous claque-when shall we be freed from this nuisance - applauded constantly; the audience less so, For all that, Miss Farrar is a Metropolitan favorite.

Taking the performance as a whole, one can only be truthful in saying that of the performance of "Le Prophete" on Monday night was worth six dollars - as it certainly was - that of last night was worth very considerably less. Why indeed should the public who support the Metropolitan be obliged to pay the same price for operatic performances of decidedly unequal merit?



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