[Met Performance] CID:86460
Martha {77} Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/19/1924.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 19, 1924
In Italian


MARTHA {77}

Lady Harriet............Frances Alda
Lionel..................Beniamino Gigli
Nancy...................Kathleen Howard
Plunkett................Giuseppe De Luca
Sir Tristram............Pompilio Malatesta
Sheriff.................Louis D'Angelo
Maid....................Unknown
Servant.................Vincenzo Reschiglian

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia North American

'MARThA' SUNG BY GOOD CAST; SCENERY NEW

Gigli and Alda Take Principal Roles in Flotow's Opera

FIRST TIME IN 4 YEARS

It was Wagnerian weather for the Metropolitan Opera Company's visit to Philadelphia last night. But, operatically, the performance was a million miles away from a Wagnerian occasion, for the offering was Flotow's tinkling "Martha," which has not been given here since Caruso sang it at the Metropolitan, March 2, 1920. It would be rash to say that "Martha" has been missed musically in the meantime. But the Metropolitan management evidently felt that it was what opera subscribers needed or wanted. So its inanities of score and story have been newly fitted out, with some good looking scenery by Joseph Urban, and its insipid melodies have been fitted out with a cast distinctly worthy of better things, the principal roles being taken by Beniamino Gigli and Frances Alda.

Nothing could be more absurd than to launch into a discussion of the musical or dramatic qualities of "Martha." As "grand opera," of course, it does not exist. Its cheerful, innocuous melodies, and its juvenile tale of mixed identities in love-making need rile anybody who isn't after something fairly substantial. It need only be remarked that the performance was generally smooth and competent, that Gigli aroused considerable enthusiasm by his beautiful vocal art, and that Madame Alda worked heroically to get into the sprightliness of her role, and to sing with equal vivacity, and did as well as certain limitations of voice and personality permitted.

There were rounds of applause for Mr. Gigli after "M'apari" in the third act. There was also much applause for Madame Alda after the interpolated "Last Rose of Summer." Everybody seemed fairly content except those who would like to get a little musical nourishment out of an operatic performance. Others in the cast were Kathleen Howard, Giuseppe de Luca, Malatesta and D'Angelo. Mr. Papi conducted in his accustomed style.



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