[Met Performance] CID:85780
Metropolitan Opera Premiere (La Habanera)

United States Premiere (I Compagnacci)
La Habanera {1}
I Compagnacci {1}
Metropolitan Opera House: 01/2/1924.
 (United States Premiere)
(Debut: William Laparra, Augusto Carelli
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 2, 1924
Metropolitan Opera Premiere

LA HABANERA {1}
R. Laparra-R. Laparra

Pilar...................Florence Easton
Pedro...................Armand Tokatyan
Ramón...................Giuseppe Danise
Father..................Léon Rothier
Comrade.................Giordano Paltrinieri
Comrade.................Pietro Audisio
Comrade.................Arnold Gabor
Comrade.................William Gustafson
Girl....................Phradie Wells
Middle-aged Man.........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Servant.................James Wolfe
Blind Man...............Paolo Ananian
Blind Man...............Angelo Badà
Blind Man...............Louis D'Angelo
Boy.....................Louise Hunter
Bridegroom..............Pietro Audisio
Bride...................Minnie Egener

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

Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............Antonio Rovescalli
Set designer............Joseph Novak
Costume designer........William Laparra [Debut]

La Habanera received four performances this season.


United States Premiere

I COMPAGNACCI {1}
Riccitelli-Forzano

Anna Maria..............Elisabeth Rethberg
Baldo...................Beniamino Gigli
Bernardo................Gustav Schützendorf
Venanzio................Adamo Didur
Noferi..................Angelo Badà
Ghiandaia...............Giordano Paltrinieri
Noro....................Pietro Audisio
Aunt....................Grace Anthony
Uncle...................Louis D'Angelo
Grandmother.............Henriette Wakefield
Grandfather.............Paolo Ananian
Leader of the Children..Louise Hunter
Police Chief............Vincenzo Reschiglian
Maid....................Nannette Guilford
Herald..................Lawrence Tibbett

Conductor...............Roberto Moranzoni

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Augusto Carelli [Debut]
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert

I Compagnacci received three performances this season.

[Alternate title: The Bad Fellows.]

Review of H. O. O. in the January 10, 1924 issue of Musical Courier

I COMPAGNACCI

Riccitelli's "I Compagnacci" is a horse of another color. Since the success of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi," there have been several attempts to write an operatic comedy in the same style. One of them was seen in the ineffective "Anima Allegra," which turned up at the Metropolitan last year.

It is one of those operas where everybody stands at the back window to look out at the trial by fire, supposed to be going on below, and then rushes in crying, "O, he got through," rushes back again for another look, and then rushes in once more crying out, "O, he didn't get through!" All that, of course, is very exiting for an audience (!).

There are a lot of characters, but only two of much importance. Baldo and his girl, Anna Maria. They both have solos and they have a grand duet ending with the traditional passage in octaves. Both Gigli (Baldo) and Elizabeth Rethberg (Anna Maria) were very much better than the music they had to sing. In particular, the long lyric solo, sung by Mr. Gigli, gave him every opportunity to show off his glorious voice and he took advantage of it, though, unfortunately, Riccitelli did not have an original idea all the way through it. A pupil of Mascagni, most of the echoes were from that master, although Puccini was by no means forgotten. It was pitiful to listen to two such voices as those of the principals pour forth the inconsequential and uninteresting phrases. The orchestration is made with a thoroughly practiced hand.

Besides singing splendidly, Gigli showed that the noted improvement of his acting is no flash in the pan. He played the part with real light comedy touch and thus made it more possible than it otherwise would have been. Miss Rethberg sang well. She had few opportunities to do any acting and was not particularly impressive when she did.

Angelo Bada, always a splendid character actor, stood out as Noferi. Gustave Schutzendorf, as Bernardo, worked hard as an actor and worked still harder to sing. Didur labored with the character of Venanzio, a comic monk. A lot of other people in smaller roles did their very best to put some life into the thing. Wilhelm Von Wymetal, the stage director, had evidently tried to make up for lack of interest in the libretto itself by keeping everybody running around the stage as much and as often as possible. It is not his fault that mere bustle can never supply the lack of any real action in a story.

Roberto Moranzoni conducted, and got all out of the score that there is in if-not much, after all. The audience appeared to like "I Compagnacci"- or at least its principal singers - better than "La Habanera," for the applause was much more plentiful.

The scenery was of the best Italian school, the school which still leans a little too strongly on more or less flapping canvas as its principal architectural ingredient. There seemed to be a little confusion in the geography of Florence, though whether it was the fault of Mr. Riccitelli, or the librettists, or the scene painter, or our memory, is hard to determine. Recollection says that the trials by fire were held in the great piazza in front of the Palazza Vecchio, but Bernardo's house, to judge by the backdrop, was a long way from the Palazzo Vecchio, visible in the distance; and when everybody ran out on the porch and looked onto some unknown square or street, there was a unanimous turning of backs on the famous old palace.



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