[Met Performance] CID:130710

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, January 30, 1941

Review 1:

Review of Robert Lawrence in the Herald Tribune

An improved performance of Gluck's "Alceste," from the vocal standpoint, was given last night at the Metropolitan Opera House. The same cast that had sung in the opera's revival last week appeared again, but this time with the advantage of added security and understanding.

If Marjorie Lawrence, who assumed the title role, would only abandon the studied poses she sustained throughout the evening in an effort to be Grecian, her entire approach might gain in effectiveness. As it is, her singing of the part has already increased in breadth. The "Divinités du Styx" was delivered last night with tonal intensity, and the wonderful aria which precedes it, "Non, ce n'est pas un sacrifice," marked Miss Lawrence's work at its best.

The soprano had her troubles elsewhere. She has not yet learned to project the "Ah! Malgré moi" of the second act with consistent fidelity to pitch, but even so last night's singing of the aria was far superior to what she had done before. The chief drawback in Miss Lawrence's performance - and this judgment is admittedly intuitive - seems to lie in a lack of native grandeur. Yet she managed to project much of the pathos and dignity of a role almost superhuman in its demands.

Leonard Warren sang convincingly as the High Priest of Apollo, and René Maison brought his familiar sincerity to the part of Admete. The settings of Richard Rychtarik are with certain definite reservations, among the most impressive the Metropolitan has to offer. But no lover of Gluck can wax equally enthusiastic over Herbert Graf's stylized stage direction (with the exception of a nobly molded [first] scene) or the series of musical cuts which have been imposed upon "Alceste." Ettore Panizza conducted last night with emotional vigor. The gyrations of the corps de ballet are reserved this morning for a special

Review 2:

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