[Met Performance] CID:70240
Le Prophète {59} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/2/1918.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 2, 1918


LE PROPHÈTE {59}

Jean of Leyden..........Enrico Caruso
Berthe..................Claudia Muzio
Fidès...................Louise Homer
Zacharie................José Mardones
Jonas...................Rafaelo Díaz
Mathisen................Carl Schlegel
Count Oberthal..........Léon Rothier
Peasant.................Pietro Audisio
Anabaptist..............Paolo Ananian
Officer.................Albert Reiss
Citizen.................Mario Laurenti
Captain.................Pompilio Malatesta
Choirboy................Mary Mellish
Choirboy................Cecil Arden
Choirboy................Marie Tiffany
Choirboy................Veni Warwick
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Review of Max Smith in the American

Meyerbeer's Opera 'Le Prophete' at Metropolitan

The Monday subscribers of the Metropolitan Opera Company had last night their first opportunity of hearing an opera under the direction of Artur Bodanzky. The opera was Meyerbeer's "Le Prophete," as carved down to fashionable dimensions by that most expert of operatic surgeons. Obesity is not a la mode in this day and generation, and it cannot be denied that in his original estate the Prophet was weighed down with a great deal of superfluous fat. It is regrettable, however, that in plying his nimble knife Doctor Bodanzky penetrated here and there into vital organs.

Excellent wielders of the baton are rare in these days, far rarer, even, than good singers. That is why Artur Bodanzky was the "star" of last night's performance, in spite of the fact that the cast included two such luminaries as Enrico Caruso and Louise Homer. Say what you may, it is extremely important that one of real municipal authority should stand at the helm for without the sure hand of a leader capable of preserving law and order in the musical family the efforts of individual members go largely to waste.

It is true that many opera-goers underestimate the importance of the man at the baton. That is the result, however, of their inability to diagnose correctly the source of their own pleasure or pain. The average amateur knows full well whether a performance is good, bad or indifferent. But he often fails to discern the fundamental cause for the merits or shortcomings. He will realize that this or that performance was more effective, or less effective, today than on some other occasion. Yet it may never occur to him that the individual artist was not responsible . He may never think of ascribing the improvement or deterioration to the man on the conductor's stand who has it in his power to make or mar the singers on the stage.

There was some exceptionally fine singing in the last night's presentation - singing of the sort that one hears only at intervals in the Metropolitan. In fact, both Enrico Caruso and Louise Homer, as Jean and Fides, respectively, surpassed their previous achievements in the same opera. The big tenor was in remarkably good form, and his distinguished contralto associate surprised many of her most ardent admirers with the dramatic potency and sheer brilliancy of her vocal achievements. It was encouraging to note, too, a decided improve- ment in Claudia Muzio, who impersonated Bertha. Nor should José Mardones and Carl Schlegel be overlooked. Both lived up to the best traditions in the roles of Zacharia and Malthusen.

But, when all is said, what would these artists have accomplished without the support of Bodanzky's compelling, yet flexible, leadership?

Some unexpected fun in the skating ballet provoked considerable mirth. Accidents will happen in the best regulated companies.



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