[Met Performance] CID:92870
Faust {352} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/20/1926.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 20, 1926 Matinee


FAUST {352}

Faust...................Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Marguerite..............Queena Mario
Méphistophélès..........Clarence Whitehill
Valentin................Giuseppe Danise
Siebel..................Louise Hunter
Marthe..................Kathleen Howard
Wagner..................James Wolfe

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

Review signed J. A. H. in Musical America

A Matinèe 'Faust'

A sold-out house with many standees greeted Gounod's "Faust" at the Saturday matinèe. The cast was headed by Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, singing the title-role for the first time at the Metropolitan and for the first time in French. Queena Mario was the Marguerite, And Clarence Whitehill the Mephistopheles, a last-minute substitute for Michael Bohnen who was unable to appear. The remainder of the cast included Mr. Danise as Valentine, Mr. Wolf as Wagner, Kathleen Howard as Marthe and Louise Hunter as Siébel.

All things considered, Mr. Lauri-Volpi gave an exceedingly good performance. There were one or two moments of hesitation, but his voice sounded very beautiful, and the high C in "Salut Demeure" was clear and full. Mr. Danise sang the Cavatine very well and made the Death Scene dramatically effective.

Few Marguerites have both sung and acted with the charm that Miss Mario displayed. She introduced numerous bits of "business" which re-vivified the role and made even the vision in the first scene, part of the drama. Her singing was at all times of rare beauty.

Mr. Whitehill, eschewing all effort to make Mephistophélès into something quite new and different, gave a conservative, though distinctive, performance and sang very well, indeed. The outside-the-church scene was somewhat pointless, but the rest of the characterization was of high interest.

Mr. Hasselmans conducted with his nose in the score most of the time and more than once the singers had to look out for themselves, which they did to the detriment of the unity of the performance. "Faust" cannot be a difficult opera to conduct, and even though it is not given very often, there seems no reason why the mechanics of the score might not be more smoothly negotiated.



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