[Met Performance] CID:85000
Tha´s {28} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/5/1923.

(Opening Night {39}
Giulio Gatti-Casazza, General Manager
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 5, 1923
Opening Night {39}

Giulio Gatti-Casazza, General Manager


THA¤S {28}
Massenet-Gallet

Tha´s...................Maria Jeritza
AthanaŰl................Clarence Whitehill
Nicias..................Armand Tokatyan
PalÚmon.................Paolo Ananian
Crobyle.................Grace Anthony
Myrtale.................Minnie Egener
Albine..................Marion Telva
Servant.................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Gretel Urban
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

Tha´s received seven performances this season.


Review of Bernard Rogers in the Musical America of November 10, 1923


"THAIS" PROVIDES COLORFUL OPENING FOR NEW SEASON AT METROPOLITAN

Inaugural Night Comes Week Earlier Than Usual at Opera Temple-Jeritza, in Title Part, Honored for Second Year in Succession---Whitehill and Tokatyan Other Protagonists in Brilliant Performance - Great Audience Gives Warm Greeting to Principals and Ensemble

Opera returned to its own on Monday evening, when the Metropolitan Opera House reopened its portals for the forty-first year. Brilliant and of a festive nature, the opening night at the vast red-and-gold temple of opera always is, and this year's inaugural performance of "Thais" was no exception to the rule. The present season will be a week longer than usual, opening as it does a week earlier, and this will avoid the conflict that has hitherto occurred between the Metropolitan beginning and that of the Horse Show. Now, presumably, Fashion will find its chairs before the first act has run its full course.

The choice of Jules Massenet's "Thais" marks the first time that this popular piece has begun a season at the Metropolitan. Indeed, the work is not very long in the repertory of the Broadway house. Geraldine Farrar, for whom it was installed, has been succeeded in the title role by Maria Jeritza, who was the Thais this week. The AthanaŰl was Clarence Whitehill, and the Nicias Armand Tokatyan. Neither a powerful nor a genuinely interesting work on the musical side, "Thais" manages to exert a very real public appeal. Weighing everything, it is, after all, well adapted as an opening work; it is colorful, its melodies are as plentiful as they are suave, and it affords excellent opportunities both histrionic and vocal for the main protagonists, besides calling for the brilliant ensembles which the Metropolitan finds among its strongest cards. Incidentally, "Thais" is very nearly that "rara avis-a no-tenor opera," its chief protagonists being a soprano and baritone. And last, the time was right for according a French work the honor of opening the season.

In the fifteen years of his consulship Mr. Gatti has thrice opened the season with "Aida," twice each with "Tosca" and "Gioconda," " once each with "Masked Ball," "Manon and "Traviata." French works chosen by him as opening vehicles included "Samson et Dalila," "Pearl Fishers" and "La Juive." To date Italian works have predominated,


A Brilliant Performance

The performance had all the imposing brilliance and remarkable smoothness that Metropolitan patrons have come to expect as a matter of course. The principals were very nearly their best, the orchestra played with precision and rich tone, the chorus and ballet discharged their duties with zeal and competence. An audience which crowded every nook and cranny of the vast auditorium witnessed the representation of the French work with evident joy and applauded on every occasion.

Mme. Jeritza has been signally honored since she joined the Metropolitan's personnel. Although the present season is only her third as a member of the institution, she has now twice been chosen as prima donna for the opening performance. Last year she enacted the part of Tosca. Such a distinction falls rarely to a comparatively new artist, but in this case it is readily understandable. Mme. Jeritza is a first-rate artist, magnetic, spirited, exerting a strong popular appeal, and possessing a really beautiful voice. In the vulgar vernacular, she "puts it over." Such an artist is a treasure to an impresario, and Mr. Gatti-Casazza, the Metropolitan's clever consul, has been swift to make full use of this singer's talents. Mme. Jeritza sang the part of Thńis on opening night with abounding spirit, charm and vocal opulence, and threw herself into the histrionic interpretation of the redeemed courtesan with marked enthusiasm. If the famous disrobing scene at the close of Act I was an affair of more mildness and modesty than the authors intended, her scene with AthanaŰl and the fall at the foot of the statue of Venus in Act II held ample compensation.

Male Principals Admirable

Clarence Whitehill was a thoroughly impressive AthanaŰl. A veteran of many operatic campaigns, the American baritone enacted the r˘le of the monk with great force and dramatic power. The young Armenian tenor, Armand Tokatyan, is being given a well-deserved chance by Mr. Gatti. Although this is but his second year at the Metropolitan, Mr. Tokatyan had the distinction of being chosen for a first-night role, and he took good advantage of his opportunity. He played the young man of pleasure commendably and sang the lines in a fresh and pleasant voice.

"Thais"-as has been intimated before -- is not a particularly inspired work. In fact, compared to the same composer's "Jongleur," it is rather tedious and its flights toward beauty fall short of the mark. But it is decidedly effective-its pictures are rich and full of a certain fantasy, while its plot is superior to the average. Of the opportunities it affords the chief actors, Mme. Jeritza and Mr. Whitehill took full advantage. The meeting at the house of Nicias and the scene in Thais' boudoir were finely done and satisfying on the vocal side. Delightful too was Thais's song with the mirror, while the later scenes were upon a like level of excellence.

The other members of the cast were Paolo Ananian (Palemon), Grace Anthony (Crobyle), Minnie Egener (Myrtale), Marion Telva (Albine) and Vincenzo Reschiglian (a Servant), They were uniformly satisfactory. Mr. Hasselmans conducted with good results. The ballet in Act II was another feather in the already full cap of Rosina Galli, who led the ballet corps in a series of colorful dances.



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