[Met Tour] CID:153680

Dallas, Texas, Sat, April 29, 1950 Matinee

During Méphistophélè's invocation to the night in Act III, a violent thunderstorm caused a temporary blackout in the auditorium.

Review 1:

Tracy Sylvester in the Oklahoman

‘Met’ Second String, Weather Melt Dallas Audience


DALLAS: The Metropolitan Opera Company presented a performance of Gounod’s “Faust” as its second offering for the Dallas grand opera season on Saturday afternoon. Before a capacity house suffering from some of the worst humidity and heat in the memory of this writer, the world’s greatest opera company presented a young and comely cast in the great tragedy.


The weather was such that the usually sedate Metropolitan orchestra played in shirt sleeves and the audience which the previous evening was strictly white tie and tails, was down to solid short clothes comfort.


The story Gounod used for “Faust” is taken from the work of Goethe and set in libretto form by Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. It is the old “Dr. Faustus” legend of a man selling his soul to the devil for a return to his youth. This is the only “grand opera” which Gounod composed. It is possible that his “Romeo et Juliette” could be classed as such, but it certainly does not belong in the same category with “Faust.”


Aside from Leonard Warren, the baritone who sang the part of Valentin, the heroine’s brother, the Met used their second-string cast for the opera. Warren has made steady progress since his beginning in 1939 and is now considered one of the greatest assets the company possesses. He proved conclusively that his is one of the greatest voices of our day in his singing of the “Even Bravest Hearts May Swell.” His handling of the dramatic side was done with the authority of a great artist.


Giuseppe di Stefano, the Faust of the afternoon, is not one of this listener’s favorite tenors. We cannot put our finger on the exact reason but again there seemed to be something missing in his performance. He is one of the younger tenors and has made considerable progress since our last hearing and time may give him the necessary competence for the roles. His best voice work of the afternoon was in the “Salut” aria in which he mixed full voice with lovely falsetto work to achieve exciting results. After the performance of Tagliavini on Friday night any tenor would have sounded flat.


Nadine Connor, the soprano lead as Marguerite, is another young singer who has not attained her peak. She is lovely to look at and sings well. Her interpretation lacked only the necessary experience of more performances.


The surprise of the afternoon was in the appearance of Jerome Hines as the lethal, sinister Mephisto. The man possesses a great bass voice which rang all over the entire orchestral ensemble with rare brilliance.


Also heard in lesser roles were Inge Manski as Siebel; Claramae Turner as Marthe; John Baker appeared as Wagner. The dean of the Metropolitan conducting staff, Wilfred Pelletier, did a magnificent job as the leader. Desire Defrere handled the stage directing, and Boris Romanoff was choreographer for the grand ballet work which is part of the opera.


For our money it was Leonard Warren and Jerome Hines that made “Faust” a first class representation of what the opera should be.

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