[Met Performance] CID:130980

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, February 21, 1941 Matinee Broadcast

Review 1:

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times


Group From Schools of 36 New Jersey Communities Attends Opera at Metropolitan

More than 3,500 children from the schools of thirty-six New Jersey communities attended the performance of Bizet's "Carmen" given yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera House, under the sponsorship of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. This was the second of the three presentations of the work arranged for this season by the Guild to stimulate the interest of the young in opera.

Mrs. Walter Sands Marvin of Montclair was in charge of the committee arranging the performance, which attracted so many eager listeners that eighty-six buses were required to bring them to the opera house. There were children from private and parochial, as well as public schools in attendance, with a chaperone for every twenty-five of them.

Several boxes were filled with children who were enabled to be present through the generosity of parent-teacher groups and by way of private donations. Some of them were blind.

Before the rise of the curtain, Edward Johnson, the Metropolitan's general manager, made a brief address of welcome in which he said that he expected the children present would become ambassadors of good will for the Metropolitan and would want to come again to hear opera there. He also thanked Mrs. Marvin for her activities in making the event a success.

The youngsters, who were very quiet and attentive throughout the opera's four acts, came well prepared to listen intelligently and responsively to the production. They had been taught the music and the story of the Bizet opera at their schools. Pupils had learned to sing the arias and choruses, and had also grown familiar with the melodies, through phonograph recordings.

Extreme enthusiasm reigned after each of the opera's acts, and could only be stilled by numerous curtain calls for the principals of the cast, which was headed by Gladys Swarthout in the title role, Licia Albanese as Micaela, Raoul Jobin as Don José and Leonard Warren as Escamillo. Lesser parts were entrusted to Thelma Votipka, Helen Olheim, George Cehanovsky, Alessio de Paolis, Louis D'Angelo and Wilfred Engelman. Wilfred Pelletier conducted.

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