[Met Performance] CID:82600
Manon {72} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/29/1922.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 29, 1922


MANON {72}
Massenet-Meilhac/Gille

Manon...................Lucrezia Bori
Des Grieux..............Mario Chamlee
Lescaut.................Giuseppe De Luca
Count des Grieux........Léon Rothier
Guillot.................George Meader
Brétigny................Millo Picco
Poussette...............Ellen Dalossy
Javotte.................Laura Robertson
Rosette.................Marion Telva
Innkeeper...............Paolo Ananian
Guard...................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Guard...................Pietro Audisio
Maid....................Maria Savage

Conductor...............Louis Hasselmans

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Antonio Rovescalli
Set designer............Pieretto Bianco
Costume designer........Maison Chiappa

Manon received four performances this season.

[Bianco designed the set for Act III, the Cours la Reine.]

Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

Lucrezia Bori in 'Manon'

Massenet's "Manon" requires, first of all, atmosphere. That attained, it needs a soprano who can sing gracefully and tunefully and is good to look upon. Miss Farrar, to whom the part had been entrusted since the work was revived at the Metropolitan three seasons ago, was rather more successful pictorially than she was vocally, though a distinct improvement of her treatment of the music was noted and commented upon last season. With her departure from the company, it was to be expected that the part of the fragile heroine, if the opera remained in the repertoire, would be inherited by Lucrezia Bori, who had assayed it in Philadelphia and Atlanta, but not in New York.

The season's first "Manon" was given on Friday evening with Miss Bori heading the cast. More than her Juliette or her Violetta, the other rôles she has added to her Metropolitan repertoire this season, this part brought to light the happiest qualities of her art and called into play the full charm of her personality. Vocally, too, it was more happily chosen for her than roles which called for bravura singing. In the first act she had perhaps too much of the air of the stage ingenue, but she was altogether effective in the scenes that followed. Of pathetic appeal was her singing of the "petite table" farewell, and it was not difficult to understand why des Grieux weakened and yielded to Manon's entreaties after his denunciation of her in the seminary scene. Her costumes, if a bit fantastic, and over-elaborate, added piquancy to the characterization, which must be given place beside her altogether charming and winning Mimi in "Bohème" and her incomparable Fiora in "L'Amore dei Tre Re."

Mario Chamlee sang des Grieux admirably, if with not quite all his customary freedom, his voice showing traces of cold. Giuseppe de Luca, his French diction aside, was an excellent Lescaut, and Leon Rothier, whose French is his pride, was equally satisfactory as the father of the Chevalier. There were some changes from last season in lesser roles, among the singers appearing being George Meader, who drew a capital picture of Guillot; Millo Picco, Paolo Ananian, Vincenzo Reschiglian, Pietro Audisio, Ellen Dalossy, Laura Robertson, Marion Telva and Maria Savage. Louis Hasselsmans conducted with a Frenchman's appreciation of the niceties and the suavities of this typically French score. The gambling scene seems to be fully reestablished after the experimental substitution of the "Cours la Reine" episode. Doubtless this is best for the logical progress of the opera, but the haunting charm of the old dance music in the scene now omitted is much missed in the present version.



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