[Met Performance] CID:90120
Pelléas et Mélisande {3} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/9/1925.


Metropolitan Opera House
April 9, 1925


Pelléas.................Edward Johnson
Mélisande...............Lucrezia Bori
Golaud..................Clarence Whitehill
Arkel...................Léon Rothier
Geneviève...............Kathleen Howard
Yniold..................Louise Hunter
Physician...............Paolo Ananian

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

Review (unsigned) in the New York Evening Post

"Pelléas and Mélisande" Given Again at the Metropolitan

When Debussy, in the summer of 1892, journeyed from Paris to Ghent to ask permission of Maurice Maeterlinck to make an opera of the Belgian's masterpiece of poetical drama, his mission was a perfect success. Consent was readily. and freely given and the French composer set to work with the famous duet in the fourth act as a point du depoit. It was more than ten years before the score was completed, a score that has been aptly called "a slow condensation of dreams." The long years of effort have left their indelible mark, a fact that becomes clearer with every hearing of a thrillingly beautiful musical work.

The Debussy opera was presented again at the Metropolitan last evening with a cast that would, no doubt, have delighted the composer, almost, if not quite as much, as when he first heard his opera in Paris and said of Mary Garden in the part of Mélisande that she was unforgettable. For Lucrezia Bori is also a memorable Mélisande, and Edward Johnson, a Pélleas with whom the most carping can surely had little fault. His voice is peculiarly suited to the role, and he looks and acts the part of the fated young lover better than any of his predecessors and as no other tenor of today can. The work of the rest of the present cast has already been commented upon in detail; it should be added that Louise Hunter won deserved applause last evening for her excellent bit of acting and singing as Yniold.

As for the music itself, exquisitely conducted by Louis Hasselmans, it belongs to the realm of pure beauty. One listens to its lovely harmonies so raptly as to forget the action at times, and yet it is inseparable from the play itself, creating moods and atmosphere as essential to the performance as the settings, or even the characters. It is, of course, a far cry from the drama of Maeterlinck and the music of Debussy to the conventional Opera, with its bald violence and its barrel organ tunefulness, but a cry in the right direction, something poignantly lyric and unforgettably moving.

One more performance of Pélleas and Mélisande will be given on next Monday evening. Coming late this year the opera has aroused more favorable comment than any offering of the season, and it is hard to see how it can be left out of next year's regular repertoire, especially with the present fine cast available for its presentation.

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