[Met Performance] CID:92960
L'Oracolo {49}
Petrouchka {13}
Cavalleria Rusticana {239}
Metropolitan Opera House: 03/26/1926.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 26, 1926


L'ORACOLO {49}
Leoni-Zanoni

Ah-Joe..................Queena Mario
Uin-San-Lui.............Armand Tokatyan
Cim-Fen.................Antonio Scotti
Uin-Scî.................Adamo Didur
Hu-Tsin.................Louis D'Angelo
Hu-Cî...................Miss Wilson
Hua-Qui.................Henriette Wakefield
Fortuneteller...........Giordano Paltrinieri

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............James Fox

L'Oracolo received one performance this season.


PETROUCHKA {13}

Petrouchka...............Adolph Bolm
Ballerina...............Florence Rudolph
Moor....................Giuseppe Bonfiglio
Charlatan...............Ottokar Bartik
Merchant................Ludwig Burgstaller
Street Dancers: Mollie Friedenthal, Rita De Leporte, Lilyan Ogden
Gypsies: Jessie Rogge, Florence Glover

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


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA {239}

Santuzza................Florence Easton
Turiddu.................Beniamino Gigli
Lola....................Merle Alcock
Alfio...................Mario Basiola
Mamma Lucia.............Grace Anthony

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

'Oracolo' Sole Addition of Week to Metropolitan Répertoire

Poignant Chinese Tragedy Given First Hearing of Season with Scotti Again in Villain's Rôle

In spite of the fact that the end of the opera season is only a few weeks off, works continue to be added to the repertoire. The latest was Leoni's miniature tragedy, "L'Oracolo" which was heard in triple bill with "Petrushka" and "Cavalleria" on Friday night. Other performances of the week were repetitions, but the magnificent "Tristan und Isolde" which brought the Matinee Wagner Cycle to a close was one of the finest ever heard. Marion Talley sang her first Sunday Night Concert and attracted a throng.

Tragedies in Threes

"For ways that are dark and tricks that are vain; the heathen Chinee" of Antonio Scotti in "L'Oracolo" is more than "peculiar." Chim-Fang becomes a sinitic embodiment of evil as portrayed by this master of stage delineation; a distinctly less genial trickster than the card player of Bret Harte's still quotable lyric. Opium selling, kidnapping, murder - wherein he qualifies as a hatchet pest - are his particular vanities. But he also sings well and he rolls an orange with a technic no other Chim Fang (if indeed there is ever to be another) is likely to equal. Today, Chim Fang is Scotti's most unapproachable achievement, much as one may admire also his Scarpia and his Falstaff. There is no more vivid or adroitly polished characterization in all opera. Though the Leoni work is, musically, a secondary one, this rôle is lifted by virtue of his art to a place among the foremost achievements of the lyric stage.

Friday night's "L'Oracolo," the first of the season, was but the repetition of a thrice familiar story, but the thrill of Chim-Fang's death scene, as re-enacted by Scotti and Adamo Didur, was as inescapable as at the little opera's première, some eleven seasons ago. The part of the nemesic doctor has been one of Didur's best and he, like Scotti, was very much in the vein at this performance. This, in spite of a detail or two that seemed a little off schedule as to time, as in the case of Scotti's changed and delayed entrance and exit after the discovery of San Luy's body. There was little time, on this occasion, for that gasping, shuffling flight that Chim-Fang has made as he feels accusing eyes upon him.

The remainder of the cast maintained a satisfactory level of competence. Armand Tokatyan replaced Ralph Errolle at the eleventh hour as Win-San-Luy and sang tunefully. Queena Mario was an attractive Ah-Yoe, coping as best she could with music that lies rather low for her voice. Louis D'Angelo as HooTsin and Henriette Wakefield as Hua-Quee completed the singing cast, but there was also tiny Helen Wilson as the cherubic child whose kidnapping became the prelude to Win-San-Luy's murder. This youngest of the Metropolitan American stars is eight years old, but looks about three. She was the object of much attention, without, however, exhibiting signs of a prima donna's recognition of her own importance.

The music of "L'Oracolo" again held the ear by reason of its fluent tunefulness. Puccini might have written its melodies, and if he had, they would have been regarded as among his happiest inspirations. Dramatically, however, the score continually misses fire - or would, if the music were at all necessary to intensify the action. The musical treatment of the scene of the discovery of Win-San-Luy's body is particularly inept, without, however, materially weakening the dramatic effect. It merely places a well-nigh hopeless burden on the soprano.

Linked with "L'Oracolo" in a triple bill of verisimo and burlesque tragedy were Stravinsky's riotous moujik ballet, "Petrushka," and Mascagni's never long deferred "Cavalleria Rusticana." In the former, the chief dancers and mimes were Adolph Bolm, Giuseppe Bonfiglio, Florence Rudolph and Ottokar Bartik, as at earlier representations. The handling of the crowds has been improved since last season. They have more zest, color, animation. One could only wish for a similar improvement in the playing of the orchestra, which lacked the sting of familiar concert performances of this music, in spite of Tullio Serafin's zeal as conductor.

"Cavalleria" was notable chiefly for the Turiddu of Beniamino Gigli, which was tonally resplendent, though inclined at times to fooling, at other times to the lachrymose. Florence Easton was an intense Santuzza and one prodigal of voice. Merle Alcock sang Lola attractively, both as to voice and appearance, and Mario Basiola cracked Alfio's whip in a highly professional manner. Grace Anthony completed the cast as Mamma Lucia. Gennaro Papi conducted both the Leoni and the Mascagni operas.



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