[Met Performance] CID:122050

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, December 4, 1937 Matinee Broadcast

Manon (128)
Jules Massenet | Henri Meilhac/Philippe Gille
Bidú Sayão

Des Grieux
Richard Crooks

John Brownlee

Count des Grieux
Léon Rothier

Angelo Badà

George Cehanovsky

Natalie Bodanya

Charlotte Symons

Irra Petina

Louis D'Angelo

Max Altglass

Arnold Gabor

Gina Gola

Maurice Abravanel

Désiré Defrère

Joseph Urban

Manon received four performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

Metropolitan Gives "Manon" With Bidu Sayao

Crooks Sings Des Grieux and Rothier His Father; De Abravanel Conducts

French opera made its first appearance of the season at the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday afternoon with Massenet's "Manon," which also marked the season's [first performance] for the Metropolitan's radio listeners. Bidu Sayao sang the title role in which she had made her debut in this house last February, with Richard Crooks as the younger and Leon Rothier as the elder Des Grieux.

The Brazilian soprano, as before, made Manon an attractive and dramatically plausible protagonist, proving able to realize the various phases of the character which become prominent as the opera runs its course. She gave the role a desirable impression of youthfulness, and the ingenuousness of the portrayal in the first act was a praiseworthy feature; it has sometimes been played with a sophistication which Manon should hardly acquire before the omitted "Cours la Reine" scene. Her voice, despite some imperfections, such as occasional incompletely focused tones and departures from vocal smoothness, had a very appealing quality and, with considerable color and warmth, was an effective vehicle for lyric expressiveness.

Mr. Crooks, in good voice apart from some slight tense upper notes, sang and acted the role of the romantic Des Grieux artistically; Mr. Rothier's relatively brief role as Des Grieux's father remains one of the dramatically impressive features of the Metropolitan's production of this well wearing opera. Mr. Brownlee presented a spirited and convincing Lescaut; Mr. Bada and Mr. Cehanovsky reappeared in their familiar roles of Guillot and De Bretigny, with Mmes. Symons, Petina and Bodanya and Goia and Messrs. D'Angelo, Altglass and Gabor completing the cast. The orchestra behaved well under Maurice de Abravanel's direction.

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