On this day in 1912 Pietro Mascagni‘s Lodoletta had its United States premiere at the Met with Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso.
Pitts Sanborn in the World:
[T]he music of “Lodoletta” is not pretentious, and that is perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about it. The first act, with its genuine simplicity, its pretty song for the caroling children, its soaring tenor phrases, would probably, despite the insistence on Antonio’s funeral march, seem to an opera customer not gorged with frequency to be very nice indeed. The same customer might find that second act a trifle tedious, but the third he would be sure to enjoy.
Theatrically the third is the best act of the work. The orchestra waits for Flammen’s silhouetted guests, the festive music from the street, and set off against these, the pathetic monologues for tenor and for soprano make this an effective opera act even if wanting in originality or special ingenuity. It is on this act that must hang the main success of the work, together with the fact that the rôle of Flammen is so divined that Mr. Caruso can sing it with complete ease and decidedly thrilling results.
He lived up to his opportunity on Saturday in a way that won him deafening applause from an audience which packed the house to bursting. He also looked so slender and played so naturally as the great painter from Paris that one saw in him a perfectly presentable Julien, if the Metropolitan ever gets around to producing that far worthier opera of love and painting, “Louise.”
The ingenious Lodoletta gives Miss Farrar one of the parts in which she can look and act unsurpassably, recalling by more tokens than a death in the snow the Goose Girl with which she used to beguile the drab boredom of “Königskinder.” Only her very Chinese pedestrianism of the wooden shoes marred an exquisite impersonation. The high notes of the part which are not few, she sang with more substantial and better focused tone, than has been her wont. Lower down her voice often sounded weak and reedy. Still in phrasing and expression her singing was generally commendable. An admirer balked the no-flowers rule by throwing her a bouquet from a box.
Birthday anniversaries of composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876), baritone Julius Huehn (1904), conductor Leopold Ludwig (1908), baritone Theodor Uppman (1920), composer Morton Feldman (1926) and baritone Vicente Sardinero (1937).