[Met Performance] CID:85780

United States Premiere, New Production

La Habanera
I Compagnacci
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, January 2, 1924

Debut : William Laparra, Augusto Carelli

La Habanera (1)
Raoul Laparra | Raoul Laparra
Florence Easton

Armand Tokatyan

Giuseppe Danise

Léon Rothier

Giordano Paltrinieri

Arnold Gabor

William Gustafson

Phradie Wells

Middle-aged Man
Vincenzo Reschiglian

James Wolfe

Blind Man
Paolo Ananian

Blind Man
Angelo Badà

Blind Man
Louis D'Angelo

Louise Hunter

Pietro Audisio

Minnie Egener

Louis Hasselmans

Samuel Thewman

Set Designer
Antonio Rovescalli

Set Designer
Joseph Novak

Costume Designer
William Laparra [Debut]

I Compagnacci (1)
Primo Riccitelli | Giovacchino Forzano
Anna Maria
Elisabeth Rethberg

Beniamino Gigli

Gustav Schützendorf

Adamo Didur

Angelo Badà

Giordano Paltrinieri

Pietro Audisio

Grace Anthony

Louis D'Angelo

Henriette Wakefield

Paolo Ananian

Leader of the Children
Louise Hunter

Police Chief
Vincenzo Reschiglian

Nannette Guilford

Lawrence Tibbett

Roberto Moranzoni

Wilhelm Von Wymetal

Set Designer
Augusto Carelli [Debut]

Costume Designer
Mathilde Castel-Bert

La Habanera received four performances this season.
I Compagnacci received three performances this season.
Leader of the Children..Louise Hunter

Review 1:

Review of H. O. O. in the January 10, 1924 issue of Musical Courier


Riccitelli's "I Compagnacci" is a horse of another color. Since the success of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi," there have been several attempts to write an operatic comedy in the same style. One of them was seen in the ineffective "Anima Allegra," which turned up at the Metropolitan last year.

It is one of those operas where everybody stands at the back window to look out at the trial by fire, supposed to be going on below, and then rushes in crying, "O, he got through," rushes back again for another look, and then rushes in once more crying out, "O, he didn't get through!" All that, of course, is very exciting for an audience (!).

There are a lot of characters, but only two of much importance. Baldo and his girl, Anna Maria. They both have solos and they have a grand duet ending with the traditional passage in octaves. Both Gigli (Baldo) and Elisabeth Rethberg (Anna Maria) were very much better than the music they had to sing. In particular, the long lyric solo, sung by Mr. Gigli, gave him every opportunity to show off his glorious voice and he took advantage of it, though, unfortunately, Riccitelli did not have an original idea all the way through it. A pupil of Mascagni, most of the echoes were from that master, although Puccini was by no means forgotten. It was pitiful to listen to two such voices as those of the principals pour forth the inconsequential and uninteresting phrases. The orchestration is made with a thoroughly practiced hand.

Besides singing splendidly, Gigli showed that the noted improvement of his acting is no flash in the pan. He played the part with real light comedy touch and thus made it more possible than it otherwise would have been. Miss Rethberg sang well. She had few opportunities to do any acting and was not particularly impressive when she did.

Angelo Bada, always a splendid character actor, stood out as Noferi. Gustave Schutzendorf, as Bernardo, worked hard as an actor and worked still harder to sing. Didur labored with the character of Venanzio, a comic monk. A lot of other people in smaller roles did their very best to put some life into the thing. Wilhelm Von Wymetal, the stage director, had evidently tried to make up for lack of interest in the libretto itself by keeping everybody running around the stage as much and as often as possible. It is not his fault that mere bustle can never supply the lack of any real action in a story.

Roberto Moranzoni conducted, and got all out of the score that there is in if-not much, after all. The audience appeared to like "I Compagnacci"- or at least its principal singers - better than "La Habanera," for the applause was much more plentiful.

The scenery was of the best Italian school, the school which still leans a little too strongly on more or less flapping canvas as its principal architectural ingredient. There seemed to be a little confusion in the geography of Florence, though whether it was the fault of Mr. Riccitelli, or the librettists, or the scene painter, or our memory, is hard to determine. Recollection says that the trials by fire were held in the great piazza in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, but Bernardo's house, to judge by the backdrop, was a long way from the Palazzo Vecchio, visible in the distance; and when everybody ran out on the porch and looked onto some unknown square or street, there was a unanimous turning of backs on the famous old palace.

Search by season: 1923-24

Search by title: La Habanera, I Compagnacci,

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