[Met Tour] CID:125840

New Orleans, Louisiana, Sat, April 15, 1939 Matinee

Act II - Incidental Dance
Doris Neal, Beatrice Weinberger, Ruth Harris, George Chaffee, Corps de Ballet
Act IV Ballet
1. Gitane: Monna Montes, Corps de Ballet
2. Farucca: Monna Montes, Grant Mouradoff
3. Farandole: Maria Gambarelli, Monna Montes, Grant Mouradoff, Corps de Ballet

Review 1:

Review of James A. Wobbe in the New Orleans Sunday Item-Tribune

Castagna Fine

Madame Castagna, who virtually stole the show as Amneris in Verdi's "Aida" on Tuesday night, turned in the finest Carmen this reviewer has ever witnessed. Added to the great charm of her liquid voice, a voice of wide range and dominant personality, she is an actress in every sense of the word. Her coquettish, wanton, biting, fighting cigarette girl leaves us with the feeling that we shall never see it excelled.

The remarkable flexibility of her voice was demonstrated in her robust singing of the "Habanera," and "Seguidilla," and the tragic depth she put into the fortune-telling song "In vain! to shun the answer."

As able histrionically, though not vocally, Charles Kullman more than adequately presented the role of Don José, and John Brownlee, a robust baritone, the role of Escamillo. Each gave his role a freshness and vitality unlike anything New Orleans has seen in recent years.

Kullman Scores

Kullman particularly scored in the third and fourth acts. His acting neared greatness, a moving characterization of the disgraced corporal who goes mad over his love for Carmen. On the other hand, we found his voice uneven in quality, his high tones dry and frayed, though his middle register is more liquid. Vocally, he was at his best in the "Flower Song" which demanded no great volume.

Brownlee's chief bit, of course, is the "Toreador Song," and he put it across so well that the house broke into a roar of applause.

Orchids go also to Louis D'Angelo, basso, for his fine singing, and excellent portrayal of the officer of the guard, to George Cehanovsky, gypsy chief, to Thelma Votipka and Helen Olheim who were the tuneful Frasquita and Mercedes, respectively, and to Hilda Burke, in the role of Micaela, though we didn't think so much of Mme. Burke's high notes.

Prelude Excellent

The ballet had a not inconsiderable part in the production. In Act 2, the house thundered with applause over the dance to the incidental music, with dancers Doris Neal, Beatrice Weinberger, Ruth Harris, George Chaffee taking the lead. We liked best, however, "Gitane," which came as a prelude to Act 4 with Premiere Danseuse Monna Montes against the background of the corps' de ballet.

Conductor Gennaro Papi's sympathetic "prelude," "habanera," and "intermezzo" were as fine as any we have ever heard, off or on records.

Search by season: 1938-39

Search by title: Carmen,

Met careers