[Met Performance] CID:97570
Manon Lescaut {60} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/13/1927.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 13, 1927


MANON LESCAUT {60}

Manon...................Frances Alda
Des Grieux..............Beniamino Gigli
Lescaut.................Antonio Scotti
Geronte.................Pavel Ludikar
Edmondo.................Alfio Tedesco
Innkeeper...............Millo Picco
Solo Madrigalist........Merle Alcock
Dancing Master..........Angelo Badą
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Lamplighter.............Max Altglass
Captain.................Paolo Ananian

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

Review of Samuel L. Laciar in the Philadelphia Public Ledger

Puccini's 'Manon' Given Here

Gigli, Alda and Scotti Sing Leading Roles - Serafin's Conducting Delights

Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" was given at the Academy of Music last evening by the Metropolitan Opera Company. The opera, which had its American premiere in this city in 1894, was last produced here by the Metropolitan in 1919, Caruso taking the role of Des Grieux. The music, while vital and vivid in many places, is perhaps more interesting in its relation to the other and greater works of Puccini, which were to follow it, than for its own sake, although there are many spots which Puccini has never surpassed.

The three sharp orchestral chords which open "Tosca" are in "Manon," the beautiful violincello quartet before the third act of "Tosca" is forecast in the orchestral interlude of the third act of "Manon" and much that burst forth into full flower in "Bohčme" is indicated in the earlier score. In short, "Manon" contains many of the gems of the later and greater Puccini operas.

The weakness of "Manon Lescaut" is the fourth act, which, after the strength of the third, comes as a distinct anticlimax. The scene is laid on a "vast plain on the borders of the territory of New Orleans" but the "stern and rockbound coast" which the Metropolitan stage manger presented suggested a New England locale with little tropical foliage and, as is usual in out-of-doors death scenes in grand opera, with many very comfortable rocks scattered around. Last evening Manon tried three before she was suited. But the rest of the scenery was excellent.

The opera was well cast as a whole. Mr. Gigli received the most applause for his Des Grieux, which he also acted acceptably, although tragedy is not his forte. Mme. Alda did not sing quite so well as she did a week ago, but her dramatic work was excellent. Mr. Scotti played the villainous brother with a full sense of values and sang well.

Pavel Ludikar's Geronte was one of the high points of the opera, as he showed an acting ability which he has not heretofore displayed here. His singing, too, was among the best of the leading characters. The minor roles were well assumed by Alfio Tedesco (Edmondo); Angelo Bada (the ballet master); Millo Picco (the innkeeper); Merle Alcock (a musician); Max Altglass (the lamplighter), and Paolo Ananian (a captain).

Mr. Serafin again did a beautiful piece of conducting; giving a rendition of the orchestral intermezzo before the third act (the so-called "Journey to Havre") that brought round after round of applause.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).