[Met Performance] CID:83470
Carmen {280} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/2/1923.

(Debut: Ina Bourskaya
Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 2, 1923


CARMEN {280}

Carmen..................Ina Bourskaya [Debut]
Don José................Giovanni Martinelli
Micaela.................Nina Morgana
Escamillo...............José Mardones
Frasquita...............Grace Anthony
Mercédès................Henriette Wakefield
Remendado...............Giordano Paltrinieri
Dancaïre................Louis D'Angelo
Zuniga..................Italo Picchi
Moralès.................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

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

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Herald

Ina Bourskaya Makes Debut in Carmen

Has a Large and Brilliant Voice and Makes Herself Interesting.

John McCullough, the actor, was credited with the saying "'Hamlet' is the one part in which any good actor can make a hit if he'll let the metaphysics alone and attend to the stage business." Something quite similar might be said of "Carmen" were it not that the operagoing public has built the role up into an R. U. R. of practically unattainable type. Every Carmen is a good Carmen, but none is ideal. These rambling remarks might be applied to last evening's performance of Bizet's opera at the Metropolitan Opera House and the debut of Mme. Ina Bourskaya as the gypsy.

The new member of the company proved to be one of the good Carmens, but, of course, not ideal. She looked like an untrammeled gypsy and endeavored to sing like one. She displayed a remarkably large and brilliant voice, one rich in the darker metallic tones, well suited to the passionate outbursts of Carmen. She was extremely nervous in the early part of the opera and clipped phrases in her eager search after breath. She improved in this respect as the performance went on, but she did not show profound respect for the composer's rhythms. She sang much of the music "ad libitum." But there was an immense amount of physical force in her impersonation and she made herself interesting, which is the chief end of prima donnas.

Mme. Nina Morgana was a very self-contained Micaela, unruffled and at times vocally smooth and accurate in all that she did. Mr. Martinelli was the same Don José that he always is, and it fell to the lot of Mr. Mardones to wrestle with the merciless song of the bull fighter. Mr. Hasselmans conducted and as usual kept things moving, which was greatly to his credit.


Review of Pitts Sanborn in the Globe

Ina Bourskaya, a Russian mezzo-soprano who last season appeared with success in various parts of the country with the travelling Russian opera company that visited New York (but minus Miss Bourskaya) in the spring and who this season has been praised in Chicago, where she has sung with the local Civic Opera Company, made her New York debut at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening in the name-part of "Carmen." Miss Bourskaya presented a personable Carmen of a properly gypsy type. This Carmen was frankly a woman of the streets and taverns, quite obvious in her methods of luring on her victims. She danced better than most Carmens, and her voice and her intonation alike improved when her first-act nervousness had worn off. Curiously, we expect from those cosmopolitan linguists, the Russians, rather better French than Miss Bourskaya displayed last night.

The Micaela was Nina Morgana, fresh-voiced, simple, girlish - indeed altogether lovely. Giovanni Martinelli in good vocal condition, sang Don José's music brilliantly. The rich, resounding voice of José Mardones was admirably effective in the torreador's song, though otherwise the part of the bull fighter is a good deal of a misfit for the eminent operatic Spaniard. Italo Picchi proved an uncommonly commendable Zuniga. Louis Hasselmans conducted with his customary care. A very large audience observed proceedings with an air of benevolent equanimity. No opera in the Metropolitan repertory is more patently in need of a thorough restaging than is "Carmen."



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