[Met Performance] CID:152650

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, January 25, 1950

Debut : Eugene Conley

Faust (472)
Charles Gounod | Jules Barbier/Michel Carré
Eugene Conley [Debut]

Eleanor Steber

Jerome Hines

Frank Guarrera

Inge Manski

Claramae Turner

Denis Harbour

Wilfred Pelletier

Review 1:

Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

A New Faust


Last night’s presentation of “Faust” in which the four leading roles were assumed by different singers than those who had participated in the first performance of the season of Gounod’s masterpiece, was greatly improved by the changes. The entire cast, with the exception of Mr. Harbour, who is Canadian, was American born and provided some of the best vocalism that has been heard at the Metropolitan this season. Mr. Conley made his first appearance on this stage in the title role; Mr. Guarrera was heard for the first time anywhere as Valentin; Mr. Hines the Mephistopheles, and Miss Steber, the Marguerite, sang their respective roles for the first time this season.


Although the acoustics of the Metropolitan have a way of exaggerating the faults of production of imperfect vocalists, they are beneficial to singers with reliable techniques. Eugene Conley is an excellently schooled tenor and his lyric voice not only carried well in the huge auditorium, but its texture actually sounded more persuasive than it had in other years at the City Center and in smaller theaters. He delivered the music in aurally satisfying fashion as well as with a degree of stylistic finish not often encountered here nowadays in French opera. Mr. Guarrera too sang admirably accounting for Valentin’s aria, “Avant de quitter ces lieux” with richly resonant tones and telling expressivity.


Miss Steber’s Marguerite, convincing to the gaze and winsomely acted, was in part beautifully sung. Her delivery of the Jewel Song was not, however, one of its vocal excellencies; her failure to concentrate her tones was responsible for the want of brilliancy which alone can make it tolerable. Later in the garden scene she brought alluringly limpid sounds and poetic sensibility to her delineation.


Quite remarkable from both the vocal and dramatic facets was Mr. Hines’s Mephistopheles. His flexible, sumptuous bass voice was put to consistently good musical use and his portrayal had the necessary amalgam of cynical humor, elegance of bearing and malevolence to make it thoroughly impressive. The chorus sang well and Mr. Pelletier again conducted a perceptive, carefully proportioned performance.

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