[Met Performance] CID:87400
Faust {340} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 05/1/1924.


Cleveland, Ohio
May 1, 1924

FAUST {340}

Faust...................Armand Tokatyan
Marguerite..............Frances Alda
Méphistophélès..........Fyodor Chaliapin
Valentin................Lawrence Tibbett
Siebel..................Ellen Dalossy
Marthe..................Kathleen Howard
Wagner..................Louis D'Angelo

Conductor...............Giuseppe Bamboschek

Review of Wilson G. Smith in the Cleveland Press


Chaliapin saved Gounod's "Faust" with its entrancing music, saved it from being classified with the usual or common grand opera variety. This occurred at the Public Auditorium on Thursday night, with approximately 8300 in attendance.

I say saved, because his dominating and artistic personality was too great and manifest for the rest of the cast to equalize with artistically or histrionically. For his wonderful portrayal of the role of Mephistopheles I have only eulogy and panegyric. The magnificent sonority and resonance of his voice meets without effort every dramatic requirement, and the ironic and satiric color with which he imbued it made it not only satanic but devilish.

And the wonder of his voice is but a part of the tale, for every gesture, attitude and facial expression emphasized and enhanced his vocal delivery. I have never seen or heard the role so forcibly and impressively portrayed, unless it was by Plancon, and that was many years ago. It was the impersonation of an operatic star and actor of the first magnitude, and its luminosity made the others in the cast mere twinkling stars of secondary importance.

Frances Alda as Marguerite, gave a pleasing and interesting portrayal of the part, vocally and histrionically. Her singing of the "Jewel Song," while not over brilliant, was not without effect, and her general interpretation of the role was artistic in intent and effect.

Armand Tokatyan assumed the part of Faust in place of Edward Johnson, and disclosed in his singing an agreeable tenor, lyric in quality, but marred by an incessant tremolo that palled on the critical ear until it became monotonous. While the tonal quality of his voice was excellent, his use of it did not disclose a perfected art.

Tibbett, as Valentin, sang the aria in the first act with pleasing voice, but in an histrionic way he has much to learn. The Siebel of Ellen Dalossy was rather ingenuously acted, but a lack of perfect intonation impaired that would have otherwise been agreeable singing.

Kathleen Howard made of Marthe an efficient complement of the quartet in the garden scene, which by the way was the most effective of the scenes I witnessed, albeit it was taken at a rather funereal tempo. I presume that my impressions of the opera would have been more favorable had not Chaliapin been the dominant figure.

The kermesse scene was brilliant in its blend of color, and telling thru the singing of the chorus. Bamboshek wielded the baton with efficiency, and in securing tonal effects with his orchestra seemed at times to overlook the singers. The idea seemed to be that the vocalists should adapt themselves to the orchestral tempo rather than visa versa.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).