[Met Performance] CID:83320
Thaïs {26} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/20/1923.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 20, 1923


THAÏS {26}

Thaïs...................Maria Jeritza
Athanaël................Clarence Whitehill
Nicias..................Armand Tokatyan
Palémon.................Paolo Ananian
Crobyle.................Charlotte Ryan
Myrtale.................Grace Anthony
Albine..................Marion Telva
Servant.................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

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

Review of Linton Martin in the Philadelphia North American

JERITZA'S PERFORMANCE OF 'THAIS' A SERIES OF POSES

Metropolitan Star Does None of the Expected Stunts; Falls Gently

Jeritza in "Thais" was the combination that crowded the Academy last night and made the Metropolitan Opera Company's eighth performance of the season a celebration of personality rather than an occasion of musical interest. Both the opera and star are abundantly familiar here, of course, but not together, so there was novelty of interest in seeing how the blond Viennese soprano would do the Anatole France heroine in Massenet's vapid musical setting.

Jeritza has not accumulated such a reputation as a "stunt" artist of opera that it would be hard to say whether audiences go chiefly to hear her sing, or to see her fall, speaking in the literal sense of the stage tumbling practiced by Ray Dooley and vaudeville acrobats, of course,. There were great expectations in this regard last night, consequently, for when she first assumed the role "on any stage" at the New York Metropolitan two months ago, it was reported that as s truly "smashing" climax in the boudoir scene she took a dive to the floor with such force that it seemed either her bones or the boards must have been seriously damaged, and one commentator declared that pedestrians on Fifth Avenue were startled by the impact.

So the news of Jeritza's first Philadelphia appearance in the role intimately identified here with the magical Mary Garden is that her boudoir bang last night was a comparatively mild affair. Those who came anticipating, possibly, the addition of the ambulance going to Massenet's woefully dull and uninspired score must perforce have been disappointed. Either Jeritza must have tripped on her filmy draperies in New York or else she is still nursing bruised shins, for last night she sank, rather than fell in demonstrating her affinity for floors. Which may or many not have been responsible for the fact that her curtain recalls after the scene numbered just five, and three of them were perceptively achieved by frank curtain wiggling on the part of the devoted attendants.

The famous or infamous sinner of fifth century Alexandria as interpreted by the tall and vital Jeritza might have owed her success in subduing men to muscular force, for Jeritza certainly looked equal to most emergencies. Her physical energy was far more in evidence than her voice, which had little color and was unevenly and sometimes unpleasantly produced. The costumes were colorful, but far from sensational, in the light of modern musical shows, where there is more than twice the exposure at half the price. Jeritza's Thais might be summed up as a series of sometimes effective, but palpably conscious poses, whereas Mary Garden really seems to live the part.

The ever reliable Clarence Whitehill was his own praiseworthy and dependable Athanael, and his mellow baritone was always true and firm. Armand Tokatyan, the new Armenian tenor, sang with fresh and sensuously beautiful tones in music of Nicias, the voluntary. Louis Hasselmans conducted with a degree of zeal and intelligence worthy of better music. The settings by Joseph Urban were rich and solid, although the lighting was jarring at times. The typical ballet scene won much favor.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).