[Met Performance] CID:90330
Les Contes d'Hoffmann {21} Matinee ed. Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia: 04/25/1925.

(Review)


Atlanta, Georgia
Auditorium
April 25, 1925 Matinee


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN {21}
Jacques Offenbach-Jules Barbier


Hoffmann................Armand Tokatyan
Olympia.................Louise Hunter
Giulietta...............Lucrezia Bori
Antonia.................Lucrezia Bori
Lindorf.................Louis D'Angelo
Coppélius...............Giuseppe De Luca
Dappertutto.............Giuseppe De Luca
Dr. Miracle.............Giuseppe De Luca
Nicklausse..............Kathleen Howard
Andrès..................Angelo Badà
Cochenille..............Angelo Badà
Pitichinaccio...........Angelo Badà
Frantz..................Angelo Badà
Luther..................Millo Picco
Nathanael...............Max Altglass
Hermann.................William Gustafson
Spalanzani..............George Meader
Schlemil................Lawrence Tibbett
Crespel.................Louis D'Angelo
Mother's Voice..........Henriette Wakefield

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Joseph Urban

Review of O. B. Keeler in the Atlanta Journal

WEEK'S LARGEST AUDIENCE ACCLAIMS LOUISE HUNTER IN "TALES OF HOFFMANN'

Dainty Prima Donna Shares Honors With Bori and De Luca - Armenian Tenor Also Scores

Singing before a capacity audience and the largest of the week in Offenbach's sprightly and fantastic opera "The Tales of Hoffmann," Louise Hunter, the dainty prima donna, who will be one of the stars in the approaching season of light opera in Atlanta, aroused the huge audience to a striking ovation after Act I and fairly earned a division of the honors of the brilliantly sung opera with stars like Lucrezia Bori and Giuseppe De Luca, who, with Armand Tokatyan, the young Armenian tenor, sustained most of the remarkably intricate singing that followed the destruction of Olympia, the poor, beautiful doll.

It was announced just before the curtain rose on the Prologue that Edward Johnson, the young American tenor who was to have made his Atlanta debut Saturday afternoon, was unable to appear through illness, and that Tokatyan would take his place. This the young Armenian did in a thoroughly acceptable fashion, and with a cast that even without Johnson mustered five American singers, the lovely Offenbach piece proceeded to its third hearing in Atlanta with a verve and spirit that moved the veteran baritone, Signor Antonio Scotti, attending it in spite of the severe role that awaited him in "Tosca" that evening, to compliment the performance in terms of unstinted praise."A beautiful opera, beautifully sung," was Scotti's verdict, and that seems about right.

Audience Enthusiastic

Beginning with the emphatic reception of Miss Hunter, in the difficult role of the doll-automaton, the three hours of "The Tales of Hoffmann" progressed through one scene after another that inspired the biggest audience of the week to explosion after explosion of sincere applause. There was no doubting the enthusiasm of the reception. Angelo Bada carried the jovial burden of the comedy in a Quadruple role, each a startlingly fine characterization, done in the whimsically humorous fashion of this admirable character actor, and supplying a welcome strain of broad comedy through the increasingly tragic, but always romantic, stages of the opera.

De Luca had a triple role: that of Coppelius, Dappertutto and Dr. Miracle, progressing from a semi-comic figure in the first act to the baleful Death's head of the last act in a terrible dance of doom as he lures the fated Antonia to her swan-song and her death. Probably the big note of the opera is the impassioned trio involving Bori, De Luca and Henriette Wakefield, the latter presented magically as the spirit of Antonia's dead mother, brought to life in the portrait on the wall by the evil genius of Dr. Miracle.

Miss Bori in her difficult dual role - usually sung by two sopranos - did her finest work of the week. She was in exceptionally fine voice and sang with entire freedom from reserve and a freshness that enhanced the charm of her presence. Baskets and huge bunches of roses reached her before the curtain after the third act, when seven or eight calls fairly filled up the intermission before the Epilogue.

Hasselmans Applauded

Kathleen Howard was one of those to appear in all the scenes and gave her usual fine and tasteful performance, while George Meader, a young American, Lawrence Tibbett, now an established favorite here, Max Altglass, William Gustafson and Millo Picco all cared for roles of more or less prominence effectively, there being the unusual number of thirteen principals in twenty different roles in this exceptional opera.

Louis Hasselmans, conducting with a fine and discriminating hand, got his own meed of applause between Acts II and III, when the famous "Barcarolle" was played as an intermezzo by the orchestra, and was received with the same affectionate greeting that always welcomes the intermezzo in "Cavalleria Rusticana." Mr. Hasselmans was compelled to turn and bow his acknowledge-
ments four times before he was permitted to proceed.

As to "The Tales of Hoffmann" itself, another reviewer has characterized it most aptly as the "Offenbach gesture toward grand opera." That is it. It is not grand opera, yet it is farther removed from either opera bouffe or the curious futuristic agglomerations of the ultramodernists. It is brilliantly tuneful in spots and intricately scored in others; dull moments are few and far between; there is a sprightliness in the music that asserts the comedy side, early in the work, but the dominant note is romance and sadness. The musical story of the loves of Hoffmann is well summed up in the words of his own Muse: "One is great by love, but greater by tears."



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