[Met Performance] CID:101570

Les Contes d'Hoffmann
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, February 21, 1929

Les Contes d'Hoffmann (37)
Jacques Offenbach | Jules Barbier
Armand Tokatyan

Nina Morgana

Dorothee Manski

Lucrezia Bori

James Wolfe

Pavel Ludikar

Giuseppe De Luca

Dr. Miracle
Léon Rothier

Merle Alcock

Angelo Badà

Millo Picco

Max Altglass

Arnold Gabor

Louis D'Angelo

George Cehanovsky

Mother's Voice
Henriette Wakefield

Louis Hasselmans

Wilhelm Von Wymetal

Set Designer
Joseph Urban

Les Contes d'Hoffmann rreceived three performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Charles D. Isaacson in the New York Telegram

That romantic devil, Hoffmann, continued to fascinate his listeners as he narrated the tales of his curious love affairs. For the first time this season, the Metropolitan Opera Company presented Offenbach's tuneful opera, "The Tales of Hoffmann." Came the Doll, through the enchanted spectacles, appeared as human as she was divinely beautiful; came the Venetian Temptress, who through the eyes of passion, appeared as sincere as she was amorous; came the Dying Antonia, who through the veil of sentiment, seemed as infinite as she was tender. And Hoffmann, always moved by the call of his susceptible heart, loved and lost them all.

Each succeeding time that we view the "Tales" we realize what a supreme showman and musical creator was Offenbach. Thus, in the prologue, where Hoffmann, at the Tavern of Master Luther, mysteriously and eloquently tells his stories, the orchestral accompaniment sung forth with sweeping and insinuating beauties, The music continues to delight. Even the Doll Song has a strangely insinuating loveliness which does not mute with the years. The comedy never palls, the obviously fantastic fairy-tale framework still seems as quaint and adorable as ever. There is no doubt that Offenbach's masterpiece belongs in the permanent repertoire of the lyrical stage, and could not possibly be replaced.

The performance Thursday was in many respects delightful. Tokatyan is to the eye and ear a perfect Hoffmann, and his companion, Niklaus, no longer Kathleen Howard, but now the attractive Merle Alcock, did well - especially after the first scene. Nina Morgana has the doll technique as no other soprano; she seemed all made of fleshless parts. Her voice was in better condition that it has been these past days.

Originally, Leonora Corona had been scheduled to sing Giulietta the lady of Venice. Probably it was realized that the American girl is being given a heavy season in a little while, so Manski took the role. Manski sang and acted well, but she is miles too big for realistic purposes.

Naturally, Bori is the supreme interpreter of any character of the sympathetic qualities of Antonia; the audience wept and suffered. Characterization is half the battle in "The Tales." And when Rothier is Dr. Miracle, the important role is more than safe; it is flawless. Also when such a great artist as de Luca is Dappertutto, that singing, liar-nobleman is not to be surpassed. Mr. Ludikar played Coppelius; Mr. d'Angelo, Spalanzani; Cehanovsky, Schlemil, and James Wolfe, Lindorf.

The orchestra was not up to the standard. The week is heavy at the Opera, with a dozen performances and the men are showing signs of wearing out. Mr. Hasselmans conducted faithfully.

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