[Met Performance] CID:124510

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, December 30, 1938

Lakmé received two performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

"Lakmé" Given, After Year, at Metropolitan

Lily Pons Again in Title Role

After a season's absence from the repertoire, Delibes's "Lakmé" returned to the Metropolitan Opera House last night with Lily Pons, with whom this amiable opera began its longest sojourn in the company's active list in 1932, in the title role; Frederick Jagel as Gerald, George Cehanovsky as Frederic and Ezio Pinza as the minatory Nilakantha. A large audience bestowed fervent applause upon the French soprano and her colleagues.

"Lakmé" has not been out of the repertoire long enough to create any new impressions upon its reappearance. As before, its score seemed suave, fluent, craftsmanly, with generously bestowed melodies which remain with a relatively limited range of color and style, and whose Oriental touches, which ably wrought, suggest an exoticism of the type set forth for the transient tourist. Yet the work gives opportunity for spectacle and unexacting entertainment, and is likely to remain at the Metropolitan whenever the company's roster includes a coloratura of prepossessing appearance.

The sets were the familiar ones designed by Joseph Novak for the 1932 production, and the principals have been heard in their various roles before, but the ballet with Mmes. Dubrovska, Chanova and Ganmbarelli and Grant Mouradoff as the solo dancers, provided an element of novelty with new faces and new costumes. The dances, which followed the Oriental style which is to be expected in a European opera with a Hindu locale, were executed with grace and agility and were effective from the point of view of spectacle and atmosphere. Whether or not they were based on authentic Hindu sources would be a matter for a specialist to decide, and one of minor importance for most of us in the audience.

Mme. Pons, having overcome a few remaining traces of a recent cold, was generally in good voice, singing the Bell Song with notable fluency and devotion to pitch, while her impersonation of the self-sacrificing Lakmé was, as before, appealing and dramatically convincing. Mr. Jagel sang very commendably as Gerard, and Mr. Cehanovsky was in good vocal form as his reliable comrade; Mr. Pinza performed Nilakantha's role with distinction. Irra Petina was Lakmé's companion, Mallika, with Mmes. Bodanya, Browning and Oelheim as the English girls and their chaperone and Messrs. Paltrinieri, Altglass and Engelman in the other vocal roles. Wilfred Pelletier conducted.

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