[Met Performance] CID:80460
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Loreley {1} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/4/1922.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 4, 1922 Matinee
Metropolitan Opera Premiere


LORELEY {1}
Catalani-D'Ormeville/Zanardini

Loreley.................Claudia Muzio
Walter..................Beniamino Gigli
Anna....................Marie Sundelius
Hermann.................Giuseppe Danise
Rudolfo.................José Mardones
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

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

Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............Antonio Rovescalli
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

Loreley received six performances this season.


Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America:

Last but one of the list of novelties and revivals promised by General Manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza for the season at the Metropolitan Opera House, Alfredo Catalani's "Loreley" was produced, for the first time at that institution, on Saturday afternoon, March 4. Its measure of popular success was difficult to determine. There was no lack of applause, but this seemed to be directed chiefly toward the singers, and much of it could be traced to noisy groups of standees behind the rail.

Marked differences of opinion were expressed as to the value of the score, but there was little to indicate that it was one which would find any very permanent place in the répertoire. As his personal view, the present reviewer must place it last in musical value among the season's new undertakings at the Metropolitan, though it has a greater measure of sincerity than "Navarraise," is sturdier than "Le Roi d'Ys," lags less than "Snegourotchka," and represents, of course, a long step forward in technique when compared to "Ernani." But there is more sheer inspiration in one of the time-frayed, hurdy-gurdy tunes of the early Verdi work than there is in the three acts of "Loreley."

Good Singing by Principals

To some exceptionally good singing by a cast that included Claudia Muzio, Marie Sundelius, Beniamino Gigli, Giuseppe Danise and Jose Mardones can be attributed in large measure the cordiality with which the work was received. The opera was not altogether new to New York, having been presented in an uncouth way by the Chicago Opera Association at the Lexington Theater, in February, 1919. The impression it made then was not a favorable one. Whether the difference in the manner and merit of its performance justifies its inclusion at this late date among the Metropolitan undertakings can be better told after it has been repeated a time or two. Catalani's music, of itself, does not prophesy for it more than a little passing interest.

Catalani essayed to be almost continuously melodious. As examples of his lyric writing, a tenor air in the first scene, "Nel verde Maggio," Anna's "Amor celeste," the bridal duet of Anna and Walter, and Loreley's "Vuai to provar" in the second act; and the tender duet of Walter and Loreley in the final scene, beginning "Io non Amarti," and leading to Walter's "Addio, per sempre," were the most salient and easily recognizable on Saturday. A boys' chorus was used effectively in the bridal scene. The two ballets, danced to commonplace, if at times prettily scored music, are a Dance of the Flowers in the Second Act -a waltz tune like that in the "Faust" Kermesse, sung during the dancing -- and the Dance of the Water Nymphs, in the Third. In the former, Rosina Galli, ably seconded by Bonfiglio, was altogether charming. The latter had some pretty posturings. It ended with a succession of leaps into the waters of the Rhine, which received the nymphs with several audible thuds but never a splash.

Claudia Muzio in Title Role

The role of Loreley fell to Miss Muzio, and was attractively and expressively sung. Some of her upper tones were particularly full and musical, and were used with climactic effect. In appearance and action, as well as in voice, hers was a portrayal of skill and charm. Miss Sundelius, whose beautiful voice has been so often admired in parts that have given her less opportunity to prove her art, came into her own in one of the important roles and sang the music of Anna very prettily. Her acting, if not yet of the most finished nature, showed further indications of increased surety and poise.

Mr. Gigli, in fine fettle, made as much of the part of Walter as of any role far entrusted to him at the Metropolitan. Particularly in the first scene he sang. gloriously, with something more than his usual fullness and richness of tone, the voice taking on a suggestion of the heroic. His air, "Nel Verde Maggio," was finely delivered, as was his part in the duets with Loreley and Anna. The last act was a taxing one, histrionically, for him, but was reasonably well achieved.

The music given to Hermann, a Wolfram who surrenders to various contradictory promptings and is neither the sacrificing friend nor yet the mischief-maker of the plot, is about as characterless as any in the score, but the stimulating resonance of Mr. Danise's voice made it distinctly agreeable to listen to, throughout the opera. Mr. Mardones as The Margrave had less on which to expend the opulence of his tone, but made the most of his opportunity in the funeral dirge of the final scene. No small parts remain to be enumerated, the opera calling for but five principals.

For the chorus, Catalani wrote several ensembles calling for much loud singing, with an occasional snatch of commonplace Italian tune-such as that of the Fishermen in the last act-to prove he was a pupil of the man who wrote "Gioconda." As is their custom, Mr. Setti's choristers justified his pride in them, and he was summoned before the curtain along with Mr. Moranzoni, the conductor, and Mr. Thewman and Mr. Agnini, the stage directors. The singers, needless to say. were called out to bow after each scene and act.

Mounted with Lavish Care

The performance had been well prepared. Mr. Moranzoni, who has more than had his hands full in recent weeks, conducted vigorously, but not too tumultuously for the singers. The staging, too, showed careful elaboration of detail. The new and specially prepared settings by Rovescalli, Milan, were by no means superior to recent examples of American-made scenery. They suggested the technique of some years ago, when, no doubt, they would have been regarded as more striking than they seem today. A transformation during the second scene of the first act, revealing nymphs swimming in what presumably was the Rhine, though it suggested some mysterious far northern grotto, was applauded in its own right. The lighting of this and other scenes was particularly well handled.

Although Saturday afternoon performances have the heaviest subscription list of the six that make up the Metropolitan's weekly round, not every seat was occupied. Some falling off from the usual Saturday throng was noted also in the number of standees.



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