[Met Performance] CID:73270
Aida {249} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/8/1919.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 8, 1919


AIDA {249}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Emmy Destinn
Radamès.................Giulio Crimi
Amneris.................Gabriella Besanzoni
Amonasro................Renato Zanelli
Ramfis..................José Mardones
King....................Louis D'Angelo
Messenger...............Pietro Audisio
Priestess...............Adeline Vosari
Dance...................Florence Rudolph

Conductor...............Roberto Moranzoni

Review of James Gibbons Huneker in The New York World

A brilliant and tumultuous audience greeted Emmy Destinn at the Metropolitan Opera House last night. It was her first appearance with this organization since before the war. The cordiality of her reception was unmistakable. Miss Destinn has always been a favorite, and New York is loyal to her singers. Aida was the role, be it said, in which she has always excelled, her beautiful voice and art being particularly welcome in the Nile scene.

    On the house bill she was Emmy Destinn, but in the advertisements she is called Destinova for the same reason that Alla Nazimova-because she is a woman one is tempted to say two women, but thereby hangs a tale. The sequel of which may be found in Vance Thompson. We recall Parepa-Rosa; we remember dear candy loving Felia Litvinne; we even saw Minnie Tracy in the lobby last night, but the Destinn we saw was rather a shock. She was interned during the war, yet Prague and its fascinating Czech cuisine must have been too near. We recommend Marienbad as the only hope. Marienbad and a perusal of Vance Thompson.

Doubtless her trying experiences in her native land shattered the nerves of Emmy Destinn, even if they didn't shatter her bulk. And they also shattered her voice, sorry to relate. No use damning her singing with polite phrases or faint praise. Her voice has lost its silver, its velvet, its smoothness, its agility. There are ominous gaps in her scale where once equality was a delight to hear. She forced this voice to the uttermost in the concerted numbers with the inevitable result: the tones were strident, the pitch sagged. Claudia Muzio need not fear for her Aida laurels.

Never an actress of distinction Miss Destinn was stolid and monotonous. We hadn't either the time or the courage to hear her third act, the scene in Act I sufficed. Perhaps-and hope ever flames in the human breast-perhaps after this popular soprano has recovered herself from the shocks of war she may win back those crystalline tones that once delighted us. But we hope she will drown that awful bathing suit she wore in the second act. It mixed up Atlantic City and Cairo in a bewildering fashion.

Crimi was the Rhadames. Strictly speaking he was far from the character, vocally or histrionically. He has now a well-defined vibrato. "Celeste Aida" suffered. Every one screams and shouts too much in this company. However, it is a critical error to take seriously such a mediocre performance. Oddly enough, the Amneris, Gabriella Besanzoni, was in voice and spirits and won the honors of the evening. Moranzoni conducted. Oh! For Caruso and Matzenauer in "Aida," only once this season! Please Signor Gatti-Casazza!



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