[Met Performance] CID:82230
Don Carlo {12} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/2/1922.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 2, 1922 Matinee
In Italian


DON CARLO {12}
Giuseppe Verdi--François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle

Don Carlo...............Giovanni Martinelli
Elizabeth of Valois.....Frances Peralta
Rodrigo.................Giuseppe De Luca
Princess Eboli..........Jeanne Gordon
Philip II...............Fyodor Chaliapin
Grand Inquisitor........Léon Rothier
Celestial Voice.........Marie Sundelius
Friar...................William Gustafson
Tebaldo.................Grace Anthony
Count of Lerma..........Giordano Paltrinieri
Countess of Aremberg....Maria Savage
Herald..................Angelo Badà
Deputy..................Paolo Ananian
Deputy..................Louis D'Angelo
Deputy..................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

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

Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Gretel Urban
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli
Translation by Lauzières, Zanardini

Don Carlo received three performances this season.

Responding to audience applause, Fyodor Chaliapin repeated "Dormirò sol..." from "Ella giammai m'amò."

[The interview between Philip and the Grand Inquisitor during Act IV, Scene 1, was performed for the first time at this performance and has been included in all subsequent performances.]


Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

In the third role he has undertaken at the Metropolitan this season-that of King Philip II of Spain in Verdi's sprawling, transitional "Don Carlos"- Feodor Chaliapin deeply impressed, then greatly stirred, and finally amazed and even dismayed conservative elements of the capacity audience which had eyes and ears for no one else when he was on the stage last Saturday afternoon. In recent seasons, Metropolitan audiences have frowned consistently on the familiar European custom of a singer stepping out of his part during the progress of an act to take cognizance of applause. The offense has been expected of Italian tenors new to this country until they have been taught otherwise, but it has been, none-the-less, a transgression of the Metropolitan's artistic code.

Although Chaliapin in his recitals had given indications of being a law unto himself, he, of all operatic artists known to New York, had seemed the last one likely to shatter illusion for the sake of acknowledging excited plaudits. Consequently, there was something of a shock to many of his admirers in the audience at the "Don Carlos" performance, when he abandoned his pose of overwhelming sorrow, left the table where he had sunk down with his head in his hands, and advanced to the footlights to bow, after an intensely dramatic projection of Philip's Monologue, "Dormiro Sol," had caused something of a tumult throughout the house. Then, when the applause continued, he fairly stunned conservative folk by directing Conductor Gennaro Papi to repeat the latter half of the air, which was done. Some years ago, Caruso sometimes repeated "M'appari" in "Marta" and "Una Furtiva Lagrima" in "L'Elisir d'Amore," but in the seasons immediately preceding his death demonstrations were known to continue for ten minutes without the repetition which the railbirds were seeking.

Aside from this departure from the latter-day rule of the Metropolitan, which resulted inevitably in loss to the dramatic conviction of the scene in which the incident took place, the Russian bass literally re-made the part he played. Ordinarily it is not the chief role of the opera, but so vivid was the portrait he limned of the Spanish monarch, imperious but mean, cruel but distressed and fearful; and so eloquent was his use of his great voice-whether he employed it, as he did on occasion, to give tonal beauty to melodic line, or whether he dropped into a parlando that was very close to speech, with now and then a fine-spun pianissimo or a ringing top tone of a brilliant baritonal quality-that other parts became secondary whenever he was on the stage. As in "Boris Godounoff' and "Mefistofele," his makeup was superb. His bearing was kingly, probably to a degree far beyond that of his Spanish prototype. Aside from the alacrity with which Mr. Papi took orders to repeat the Monologue, there were indications that Chaliapin's wishes had been law in various details of the staging.

The scene between the King and the Grand Inquisitor in the King's Chamber, heretofore cut, was restored. It was superbly dealt with by Chaliapin and by Léon Rothier, who did not permit himself to be cast in the shadow by the big Russian. Others in the cast were of varying degrees of excellence, Giuseppe de Luca meriting first mention by reason of his beautiful singing of "Per mi giunto" in Roderigo's death scene. Giovanni Martinelli had many good moments as Don Carlos and others not so good. Frances Peralta was reasonably successful with the part of Elizabeth of Valois, and Jeanne Gordon as the Princess Eboli sang "O Don Fatale" effectively. William Gustafson was a properly sonorous monk. In lesser parts were Grace Anthony, Maria Savage, Angelo Bada, and Giordano Paltrinieri.

Marie Sundelius was again the unseen voice of the cathedral square. Rosina Galli and Giuseppe Bonfiglio danced nimbly in the absurd oyster ballet of the Queen's Grotto. In spite of much fine music and some highly successful individual airs, the work remains a wearying one. Its scenes can be shuffled indiscriminately and the results remain about the same. Though there were several restorations in Saturday's performance, the [Fontainebleau] scene in which Don Carlos and Elizabeth meet and thus set the plot in motion was not one of those put back. It contains some of the best music of the opera, but there is too much of it as it is.


Photograph of Fyodor Chaliapin as King Philip II in Don Carlo by Herman Mishkin.



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