[Met Performance] CID:113330

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, February 25, 1933 Matinee Broadcast

Debut : Richard Crooks

Manon (108)
Jules Massenet | Henri Meilhac/Philippe Gille
Lucrezia Bori

Des Grieux
Richard Crooks [Debut]

Giuseppe De Luca

Count des Grieux
Léon Rothier

Angelo Badà

George Cehanovsky

Pearl Besuner

Philine Falco

Dorothea Flexer

Paolo Ananian

Max Altglass

Arnold Gabor

Gina Gola

Louis Hasselmans

Review 1:

Review by W.H. Henderson in the New York Sun

Richard Crooks, young American tenor, made his Metropolitan Opera debut Saturday afternoon as the Chevalier des Grieux in "Manon" and won the immediate favor of one of the largest audiences of the season. He had many recalls after each act and after the performance. Mr. Crooks has sung in opera in Europe and Philadelphia, a record sufficient in itself to excite interest. But he had also made himself popular with the unseen audience, for he has long been one of the celebroties of the air waves. His success was not due to what he had done, but to what he did Saturday. His achievement was one of much merit and much promise.

The new tenor is tall and slender. He has a voice of good quality, warm and persuasive. The voice proved itself capable of uttering the sentimental portions of Massenet's music with feeling as well with musical beauty. The singer revealed a serviceable technic and a good breath control. In action the newcomer displayed frequently a boyish gaucherie quite in keeping with the role and engaging in itself. When Mr. Crooks has had more experience in a great opera house he will acquire a stage routine of value. His debut was one of merit and of real promise.

Review 2:

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times


Sings Des Grieux in "Manon" to Endless Curtain Calls at Metropolitan


Interprets Manon's Heroine With Charm and Ideal Taste

The debut of Richard Crooks as Des Grieux in Massenet's "Manon" yesterday afternoon in the Metropolitan Opera House was the occasion of reverberating enthusiasm on the part of the audience, which inevitably contained many of the admirers whom this gifted tenor has won in his career as a concert artist. There were endless curtain calls for Mr. Crooks: and Miss Bori, who as logically deserved a special reception, aided and abetted the assembly in the favor it showed the new member of the cast.

Mr. Crooks has sung in opera in Europe. This was his first appearance on the lyric stage in this city. It is probable that longer experience of the Metropolitan boards will make him more at ease on its stage, therefore secure in his stage business. The character of the voice, a lyric tenor, is suitable to Massenet's music and the singing of "The Dream" was one of the highlights of the afternoon. The upper tones were not always equal in roundness and resonance to the lower registers, but the general quality of Mr. Crooks's performance was such as to give great satisfaction to his listeners and to develop interest in other appearances that he will make during the concluding weeks of the Metropolitan season.

As for Miss Bori's Manon, it is well known, but it is a work of art which grows in its fineness and charm upon the observer. She conveys with ideal taste and intuition the character of Massenet's creation. The nature of the woman and the artist coincide in the presentation of this partly decorative and warmly if not profoundly emotional part. Miss Bori can go deeper, but here it is her pleasure and knowledge to keep perfectly within Massenet's frame, and to exemplify admirably the eighteenth century manner of the music.

And what an adorable opera this is! There are certain composers of the second rank, fertile in invention and with instinctive aptitude for their medium, who make many successes and one enduring success. It is likely that Massenet, belonging to this category, will receive the highest mark from posterity for his "Manon." The other features of yesterday's performance, including Mr. de Luca's Lescaut and Mr, Rothier's Count, were of customary competence. Pearl Besuner replaced Aida Doninelli, who was indisposed, as Pousette. Mr. Hasselmans appears to find in the lovely music of "Manon" a score peculiarly sympathetic to him.

Photograph of Richard Crooks as Des Grieux by Wide World Studio.

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