[Met Performance] CID:146330

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, December 12, 1947

Debut : Evelyn Sachs

Louise (43)
Gustave Charpentier | Gustave Charpentier
Dorothy Kirsten

Raoul Jobin

Margaret Harshaw

John Brownlee

Irene Jordan

Evelyn Sachs [Debut]

Martha Lipton

Hertha Glaz

Maxine Stellman

Camille/Artichoke Vendor
Thelma Votipka

Inge Manski

Paula Lenchner

Errand Girl
Lillian Raymondi

May Savage

Nicola Moscona

Coal Gatherer
Thelma Altman

Thomas Hayward

Philip Kinsman

Emery Darcy

Lawrence Davidson

George Cehanovsky

Clifford Harvuot

Hugh Thompson

Lodovico Oliviero

John Garris

Lorenzo Alvary

Osie Hawkins

Old Clothes Man
Leslie Chabay

Pope of Fools
Alessio De Paolis

Marina Svetlova

Louis Fourestier

Désiré Defrère

Joseph Urban

Boris Romanoff

Louise received six performances this season.
Kirsten's Act IV costume was designed by David Laurence Roth.

Review 1:

Review of Virgil Thomson in the New York Herald Tribune

Louise as a Wan Blond

Charpentier's "Louise," which was heard again last night at the Metropolitan Opera House after nearly a five-year interval, is a good play and a good score. The play, incidentally, is not by Charpentier, as the program states and as the printed score would lead one to believe, but by the poet Saint-Pol-Roux and is so registered at the Societé des Auteurs Dramatiques in the rue Ballu. The present Metropolitan production of this sound and charming work is still visually evocative of the turn of this century and auditively agreeable in the small rôles. It lacks force and brilliance at the key positions, all of them, including that of the conductor. Consequently, the show is pale and cold.


Dorothy Kirsten, in the title rôle, would seem deliberately to have affected pallor. She wears the palest of yellow hair, the wishy-washiest of pinks in her dresses and an almost dead-white makeup. Her voice seems light for the role, too; and though she sings most prettily and pronounces clearly, she does not come over vocally as a character of much emotional weight. Even her acting is puny. She represents Louise as constantly clutching at things and people, constantly weeping and constantly pitying herself. The absence of physical alacrity from Miss Kirsten's movements, the insistence on an extreme and obviously artificial blondness (if she expects to pass for a Paris working girl) in her get-up and an almost crooned song-speech end by giving to her whole interpretation a not wholly pleasant suggestion of Mae West. She has worked hard and prepared her reading carefully, but I think she has missed the point of Louise.


The latter is no tender bourgeoise wrapped up in pink silk shirtwaists all for love. She is a working girl brought up on Socialism, adding thus to the normal revolt of youth a certain political and philosophic education. She would leave home shortly in any case. Her mother knows this only too well and hopes to keep her under guard until an offer of legitimate marriage in her own class turns up. Louise, however, is more interested in emancipation than in working; and when Julien offers her, along with Socialist conversation and the independence of the artist's life, the full doctrine and practice of free love, it is perfectly clear that the family is not going to see much more, of her. Even if Julien should not pan out, her decision is made. Home and mother have lost.

Here I am telling what the opera "Louise" ought to be like instead of what it was like last night. It was a clean performance but a lifeless one, save for the small roles. One of these was charmingly sung by a newcomer to the house, Evelyn Sachs. The most disappointing of the principals were Miss Kirsten, Mr. Brownlee and the conductor Mr. Forestier. Mr. Jobin and Miss Harshaw were not always convincing dramatically, but at least they made some noise. The whole performance was lifeless and lazy at the top.

Search by season: 1947-48

Search by title: Louise,

Met careers