[Met Performance] CID:92750
Les Contes d'Hoffmann {23} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/12/1926.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 12, 1926 Matinee


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN {23}
Jacques Offenbach-Jules Barbier


Hoffmann................Ralph Errolle
Olympia.................Marion Talley
Giulietta...............Mary Lewis
Antonia.................Lucrezia Bori
Lindorf.................James Wolfe
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..............Paolo Ananian
Schlemil................Lawrence Tibbett
Crespel.................Louis D'Angelo
Mother's Voice..........Merle Alcock

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

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

Les Contes d'Hoffmann received three performances this season.

Review signed J. A. H. in Musical America

'Hoffmann' Returns to Metropolitan

For the first time this season, Offenbach's fantastic opera, "Tales of Hoffmann" was given at a special matinee for the benefit of the Fund for Near-East Colleges on March 12. The occasion was further notable on account of the first appearance on any stage as Olympia, of Marion Talley, her fourth role in less than a month. A new and striking Giulietta was revealed in Mary Lewis, her third role since her debut a few weeks ago, with Ralph Errolle giving a splendid Hoffmann, singing the rôle here for the first time. Lucrezia Bori repeated her appealing and vocally fine performance of Antonia.

Miss Talley's Olympia, was well sung. The part suits her as well as the music and she depicted cleverly the awkwardness of the automaton. The music of the Doll has some very ticklish passages in it and Miss Talley executed them with finish and fine tone. One little slip in notation was adroitly covered up, showing that the young artist has self-possession as well as musicianship. Some changes were made at the end of the song "Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille" in order to give her an opportunity for more altitudinous notes.

Miss Lewis, wearing a resplendent modern (one might almost say "ultramodern") ball gown in an Eighteenth Century Venetian setting, was a feast for the eye as well as the ear. It would be difficult to find a voice better suited in quality to this role, than that of Miss Lewis. As a matter of fact, she was about an ideal Giulietta. Perhaps the most satisfying performance of the evening was Miss Bori's Antonia. Few if any singers now living could fill this role as she does and it is dubious if there has ever been a better Antonia. Miss Bori sings the cruelly difficult music with finish and her characterization leaves nothing to be desired.
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Mr. Errolle's Hoffmann was exceedingly good in every way, though he perhaps missed the fantastic, Poe-like spirit of the character. The remaining rôles were assumed by Kathleen Howard (who for some reason or other is singing mightily well these days), Merle Alcock and Messrs. Ananian, Tibbett, Wolfe, D'Angelo, Bada, Altglass, Gustafson and Picco. Last but not least, Giuseppe De Luca in the triple roles of Coppelius, Dappertutto and Miracle, not only sang superbly but gave a masterly characterization of three widely diverse personages. Seldom has this gifted artist done a more perfect piece of singing than in the so-called "Mirror Song."

Louis Hasselmans conducted. The settings were those of Josef Urban designed for last year's revival, and the costumes were the same pot-pourri, the chorus wearing in the first act which takes place in Hoffmann's youth, gowns of 1830, some eight years after his death, while the principals ranged from Louis XIV courtiers to Incroyables of the Directoire.



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