[Met Performance] CID:70090
L'Elisir d'Amore {27} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/20/1918.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 20, 1918


L'ELISIR D'AMORE {27}
Donizetti-F. Romani

Adina...................Frieda Hempel
Nemorino................Enrico Caruso
Belcore.................Antonio Scotti
Dr. Dulcamara...........Adamo Didur
Giannetta...............Lenora Sparkes

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

Director................Richard Ordynski
Set designer............James Fox

L'Elisir d'Amore received six performances this season.

Review of Henry T. Finck in the Post

Caruso in Comic Opera

Most of the sixty-seven operas composed by Donizetti are prima donna operas. In "Lucia," for instance, all the other parts are - except in the glorious sextet - mere sideshows to the mad soprano's brilliant warblings. A notable exception is "The Elixir of Love." Here the tenor rules supreme. For this opera which in recent years has become a favorite at the Metropolitan, Mr. Gatti-Casazza - who has so successfully steered the operatic ship through the submarine dangers of the war - fortunately has the tenor of tenors. It is due chiefly to Caruso that "L'Elisir d'Amore" has again become part of the regular repertory.

Mark Twain once gave a dinner in this city to well-known caricaturists. He forgot to invite Caruso, who was grievously hurt thereat. "Perhaps he knows me only as a singer," he remarked woebegonely. He had reason for his plaint. Enrico Caruso is an excellent caricaturist - an assertion which is proved by a whole printed volume of his achievements in this direction. The comic vein exhibited in this volume is also manifested on the stage when he has a part like that of Nemorino in "The Elixir of Love."

Last night he was at his best, both as singer and comedian. Did anyone in this part ever think of so many ways of trying to get the last drop out of the elixir bottle? Caruso was especially inventive last night along these lines. He tried to reach it with his tongue, he squeezed it as if it had been a lemon, he shook it, and he peered into it with anxious eye, rejoicing that it still held some of the delectable stuff. Nor was he less amusing in his inexpert lovemaking and in his fear of the conquering officer, who carried off his sweetheart from under his very nose. His voice was glorious, and one could hardly wonder even at the rudeness of those who yelled and stamped and clapped and refused to let the opera go on until he should repeat the famous "Una furtive lagrima." But Caruso was obdurate. Good-naturedly he smiled, bowed, refused, and said "Hush" several times. At last his will prevailed, and the opera continued to an orderly finish.

All this hullabaloo did not mean that Mme. Hempel, whose duty it was to interrupt the solo scene, was unwelcome. How could she be? She is one of the most famous and admirable singers of the day, and she did her part with her usual charm of voice and acting. As Adina she is arch and coquettish, and one does not wonder that she made members of the cast all fall in love with her.

It is more difficult to speak of the other parts. Generally Mr. Scotti (Belcore) was as far away from the timorous Nemorino as the latter could arrange it, and as one keeps one's opera-glass glued on that absurd rustic, the soldier "galant," even in these days of military interest, takes second place. Even with one's back turned, however, one may always be sure of Mr. Scotti, that his art is unfailing, whether it be used in comedy, tragedy or melodrama. We have seen him grow, in these may years of our artistic friendship, from a singer with a glorious voice to an artist equaled by few that have lived in our day - or in any other.

As the quack doctor Dulcamara, Mr. Didur, also was in his element. While this journal has not been invariably complimentary to Mr. Didur, it has always been so when he appeared in comic parts, and this special one of the doctor suits him in every way. He was an important factor in last night's performance, adding to its bubbling fun as much as did the other principals. To Miss Sparkes, in the small part, should go a vote of thanks for her share in the pleasant nonsense of the evening. Mr. Papi conducted ably and the performance turned out to be a gala night, not only for the listeners but for the performers, who enjoyed themselves as much as did their audience.



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