[Met Performance] CID:91270
Mefistofele {52} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/23/1925.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 23, 1925


MEFISTOFELE {52}
Boito-Boito

Mefistofele.............Fyodor Chaliapin
Faust...................Beniamino Gigli
Margherita..............Frances Alda
Elena...................Frances Peralta
Wagner..................Angelo Badŕ
Marta...................Kathleen Howard
Pantalis................Merle Alcock
Nerčo...................Giordano Paltrinieri

Conductor...............Tullio Serafin

Director................Samuel Thewman
Designer................Boris Anisfeld
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

Mefistofele received three performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

Chaliapin Sings 'Mefistofele'

Boito's Music Provides Opportunity Russian Star at the Metropolitan.

The first presentation of Boito's "Mefistofele" at the Metropolitan Opera: House last evening offered certain matters for contemplation. Many harsh things have been said about the opera. Ernest Newman, whom it is now the fashion to quote, declared the music to be beneath contempt. It does not seem to be quite as bad as that, but this assuredly is now, and long has been, an overrated score.

Learned commentators used to discover subtle relationships between it and Goethe's poem. In these degenerate days we find that it is more intimately related to plain spectacular grand opera. But it is all of no importance. The significant thing is .that it provides a medium for a garish display of the personality of Feodor Ivanovitch Chaliapin, celebrated Russian impersonator of characters in operaland.

Probably every man sets up his own devil. Certainly Goethe did not invent the one delineated by Boito and Chaliapin. This is Mr. Chaliapin's own private fiend. He has great physical force and a very bad temper. He does a vast amount of defying. One almost suspects him of suffering from a pronounced inferiority complex. He shatters a globe and Boito's music with brave indifference. He is no respecter of persons. Down in Italy they doted on this Mefistofele. Chaliapin sang the role ten times in Milan. They did not care to hear him in anything else. In this we have by far the better of them. We have "Boris Godunov," which is an opera worth a dozen "Mefistofeles," and in which the distinguished bass has a role far more psychologic and genuinely tragic than this ranting half naked Lucifer. But a man cannot make a season with one rôle. Chaliapin and Mr. Gatti do not forget that the Metropolitan has a loyal Italian clientele which regards Boito as a great composer and sniffs at the verdicts of Newmans.

Last evening's performance passed smoothly through its various scenes, though there was reason to suspect that between the supernal realms and Dr. Faust's study Mefistofele had been unduly exposed to dampness. Mr. Gigli, happily recovered from his late indisposition, was the Faust and had his usual success with the music.

Mine. Alda as Marguerite is at her best as a rule, and was so last night. Miss Peralta as Elena and Mme. Adcock as Pantails were other principals. Mme. Howard as Marta and Mr. Bada as Wagner should not be forgotten. Mr. Setti's chorus acquitted itself with much credit and Mr. Serafin conducted with his unfailing insight and authority.



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