[Met Performance] CID:85420
New production
Fedora {9} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/8/1923.

(Debut: Billy Wheeler, Georges Sébastian

Metropolitan Opera House
December 8, 1923 Matinee
New production

U. Giordano-Colautti

Fedora Romazov..........Maria Jeritza
Count Loris Ipanov......Giovanni Martinelli
Countess Olga Sukarev...Queena Mario
De Siriex...............Antonio Scotti
Desirè..................Giordano Paltrinieri
Sergio..................Pietro Audisio
Dimitri.................Ellen Dalossy
Gretch..................Louis D'Angelo
Lorek...................Paolo Ananian
Cirillo.................Italo Picchi
Baron Rouvel............Angelo Badà
Dr. Borov...............Millo Picco
Boleslao Lazinski.......Georges Sébastian [Debut]
Peasant Boy.............Merle Alcock

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Billy Wheeler [Debut]
Costume designer........Ethel Fox

Fedora received eight performances this season.

Review of Bernard Rogers in Musical America


Giordano's Operatic Version of Sardou's Famous Play Is Given Vigorous Performance - Maria Jeritza in Title Rôle, Martinelli as "Loris" and Scotti as "De Siriex," Queena Mario Heard as "Olga" - New Scenery by Urban

Giulio Gatti-Casazza brought forward another of the Metropolitan's promised revivals on Saturday afternoon of last week. Giordano's "Fedora" was the latest operatic wanderer to return to the fold, and the event took on all the brilliance inseparable from such occasions at the great Broadway house. Maria Jeritza was cast for the name part, there was a new scenic production fresh from the brushes of Joseph Urban, and a dramatis personae of exceptional strength to make memorable the restoration.

"Fedora" was previously given at the Metropolitan in 1907, under the Conried administration. That occasion was sufficiently noteworthy, for it was marked by the debut of Lina Cavalieri, while the cast further included such eminent names as Caruso and Scotti. After four performances in the season, the work disappeared, from the repertory, and, excepting its presentation by the Chicago forces during their invasion of New York in 1919, the opera has not since been given here by a major company. "Fedora" is a lyric drama in three acts, adapted by Signor Colautti from the famous play by Sardou. It is a melodrama in the French playwright's familiar style: a gripping and intense piece, swift-moving and theatrically effective. Here, in brief, is the plot:

The Princess Fedora Romazov is engaged to be married to Count Vladimir Andrejevich, of whose dissolute habits she has no suspicion. While Fedora is visiting at the Count's house he is brought in mortally wounded. He dies and suspicion fastens on Count Loris Ipanov. The police at once institute a search for Ipanov, while Fedora makes a vow to avenge her lover's murder. The second act shows Fedora receiving her friends at a reception in Paris. Among the guests is Loris, whose affections she contrives to win. He tells her of his love, and upon Fedora's announcing her decision to return to St. Petersburg, Loris admits that he is a refugee from justice, implicated in the murder of the Count. Fedora grants him an interview after her guests have gone, planning to extort from him a confession of guilt, and yet secretly hoping that he will be able to exculpate himself. Loris finally tells her that he killed the Count because he had been his wife's lover. Fedora's newly awakened affections for Loris burst into a blaze upon this proof of the Count's perfidy, and they plight their troth.

The scene of Act III is Fedora's villa in the Bernese Alps. Fedora learns that an incriminating letter which she has sent to the Russian authorities has brought about the arrest and execution of Loris' brother, which in turn has caused his mother's death. Loris, on returning to the villa, receives letters from St. Petersburg and learns the truth. He is beside himself with grief and vows to revenge himself upon the one who has dealt him this blow. Fedora, crazed with remorse and fear, finally confesses her guilt. Loris bitterly casts her from him, and she poisons herself. As she dies Loris gives her his pardon.

Lyric Pages Are the Best

Here is strong dramatic meat, of a kind to attract an Italian "verist" like Giordano. But, in spite, or perhaps because of, the plot's swift movement, the play does not lend itself ideally to operatic treatment. Such episodes as the police inquiry in Act I belong on the speaking stage. Yet these are minor matters which pass quickly enough. Giordano has brought a lyric pen to this score and has written flowing musical sentences, especially in the love scene of Act II, which will undoubtedly appeal to many ears. He is at his weakest in moments of great dramatic tension. At such times the opera must rely upon the excitement of the situation and the acting of the principals to realize its full effect.

The protagonist last Saturday - Mme. Jeritza - enacted her part with abounding dramatic intensity and ardor. Indeed, both she and Giovanni Martinelli, the Loris, brought superabundant enthusiasm to the interpretation of their rôles. Several of Mme. Jeritza's falls in the last act were so realistically contrived that many in the audience must have marveled that she could manage to escape injury. Both she and Mr. Martinelli sang their lines with great warmth and tonal opulence and aroused a torrent of enthusiasm after the impassioned love scene and duet which closes Act II. The artists were called before the curtain countless times and brought Gennaro Papi, the conductor, to share in the ovation.

Antonio Scotti, the only remaining member of the cast of 1907 - if memory serves - was a polished De Siriex. The role gives his matchless dramatic ability small opportunity, but such acting as fell to his lot was cared for with characteristic finish and distinction. Queena Mario was capital as the Countess Olga, and the interpretation of the other roles left nothing to be desired. Ellen Dalossy was Dimitri; Mr. Paltrinieri, Desire; Mr. Bada, Rouvel; Mr. Picchi, Cirillo; Mr. Piccho, Boroff ; Mr. D'Angelo, Greek; Mr. Ananian, Doctor Loreck; Mr. Sebestyen, Lasinsky, and Merle Alcock sang the off-stage- lines of the Savojard delightfully.

The new settings by Mr. Urban were handsome and brilliant affairs, especially the scene for Act III, which paints in gay colors the conservatory of Fedora's villa in Switzerland. A tremendous audience heard the work and applauded it with tireless energy and enthusiasm.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).