[Met Performance] CID:79920
United States Premiere
Snegurochka {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/23/1922.
 (United States Premiere)
(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 23, 1922
United States Premiere
In French


SNEGUROCHKA {1}
Rimsky-Korsakov-Rimsky-Korsakov

Snow Maiden.............Lucrezia Bori
Spring Fairy............Marion Telva
Grandfather Frost.......Léon Rothier
Lel.....................Raymonde Delaunois
Berendey................Orville Harrold
Kupava..................Yvonne D'Arle
Mizgir..................Mario Laurenti
Faun....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Carnival................George Meader
Bobylikha...............Kathleen Howard
Bobyl...................Angelo Badà
Page....................Grace Anthony
Bermiyta................Louis D'Angelo
Jester..................Pietro Audisio
Jester..................Vincenzo Reschiglian

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

Director................Samuel Thewman
Designer................Boris Anisfeld
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

Translation by Halperine, P. Lalo

Snegurochka received seven performances this season.

[In company programs Rimsky-Korsakov's opera was sometimes listed as The Snow Maiden.]


Review of Henry T. Finck in the New York Post:

Theodore Thomas used to say that he considered Rimsky-Korsakov the greatest of the Russian composers-greater than Rubinstein or Tchaikovsky. The public did not agree with him. Tchaikovsky, in particular, thanks to Seidl, Safonoff, and other conductors, came into such vogue that only Wagner and Beethoven disputed his supremacy in the concert hall. It is only within the last few years that Korsakov has come conspicuously to the fore. His symphonic suite "Scheherazade" in particular has become a great favorite; this season it has been played more frequently than one of the popular Tchaikovsky symphonies.

Even more important, perhaps, than "Scheherazade" in calling attention to Korsakov's genius were the excellent performances given at the Metropolitan several seasons in succession of his delightful semi-humorous opera "The Golden Cock," which is equally entertaining for adults and children. It was the success of this work that suggested the advisability of producing at the same place another famous opera by the same composer. The choice fell on "The Snow Maiden." It is, at least in its atmosphere, vaguely autobiographic, and music associated with personal experiences is apt to be good.

Miss Bori made an enchanting picture, particularly in the prologue, where, muffled in soft white furs, even to her dainty feet, she looked the very personification of winter. Her Spanish grace of motion added much to her soft white charm as she moved about the stage like a huge snowflake. It seemed a pity that her adoption by common mortals resulted in a change of costume. Russian peasants were had aplenty, but such a dainty Snow Maid is a delightful novelty for one's eyes. And she sang her part with that pure loveliness of tone which so often enchants Metropolitan audiences.

This opera does not offer as many opportunities for the display of her vocal charms as "La Bohème," but she makes the most of what there is, and if anything more exquisitely beautiful in bel canto than the song of the melting snow maiden has ever been heard at the Metropolitan this writer was not there.

Nor was Miss Bori the only highlight in this performance. To Raymonde Delaunois fell some of the best music in the score, the songs of Lel, which have been made familiar in our concert halls by Clara Clemens and others; and she acted the shepherd's part in true rural style. Admirable also was Yvonne D'Arle in the part of the jilted and revengeful Koupave; one wondered how any one could jilt such a maiden. Marion Telva as Fairy Spring, Kathleen Howard as Bobylicka, were satisfactory, too, and so, on the whole were the men in the cast; Orville Harrold made the Czar's part seem very difficult; somehow he usually manages to make his part seem exceptionally hard while others get along swimmingly. Leon Rothier was King Winter, Mario Laurenti the fickle Mizguir.

Rimsky-Korsakoff inserted a note in the score requesting that no cuts be made except those sanctioned by himself. Mr. Bodanzky fortunately made a number of others-scores of them, long and short. In this way he made the opera end a few minutes after eleven. More would have been less. Even now there remains a good deal of music in the prologue and the first two acts which is dull, though, as intimated, Boris Anisfeld and the stage directors come to the rescue with scenic effects and picturesque groupings. With the third act the music changes suddenly. The "Snow Maiden" is an early work and it seems as if the composer's genius had suddenly come to maturity. In this act, and in the last, there is plenty of enchanting music to match the best in the "Golden Cock" and "Scheherazade." The gem of the whole opera is the dance music opening the third act; this will soon be heard in concert halls and everywhere. Here is delicious exotic melody a-plenty, paired with piquant whirling rhythms, unique harmonies and rich orchestral colors, and from this moment until the close of the opera there is hardly a pause in the flow of the composer's inspiration. Were it only for the delicious music of these two acts every operagoer who hears it would bless Mr. Gatti-Casazza for staging this Russian opera; an opera, moreover, which will interest children as well as adults.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).