[Met Performance] CID:118250

Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, January 6, 1936

Review 1:

Review of Marcia Davenport in the March 1936 issue of Stage magazine

The eagerly anticipated Carmen of Rosa Ponselle met with such disastrous disapproval that its virtues - of which there are some - passed largely unnoticed. It seems peculiar that Madame Ponselle did not achieve a splendid Carmen, for she has always suggested the part in voice and personality. Insofar as objections to the vulgarity of her conception go, one wants to inquire who on earth, if not a gypsy cigarette girl and "fille de joie," would be vulgar ? Her finger-snappings, eye-winkings, and hip-slingings were not the trouble with her performance. Her costumes were magnificent, if too exotic, and her vivacity all to the good. The trouble with her Carmen was vocal, and that, for the voice of a Ponselle, is really regrettable. Somebody had coached her badly, with a meretricious conception of Bizet's thrilling music, and had urged upon her deviations from good singing of which it is hard to believe her capable. So glaring were many of these unpleasant novelties that somewhere in the projection of them the beautiful luminous quality of the voice was absent; and Carmen, to us, was rather sad than bad.

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