On this day in 1907 the Metropolitan Opera premiered Puccini’s Manon Lescaut with the composer in attendance. Lina Cavalieri and Enrico Caruso were Manon and DeGrieux.

Henry Krehbiel in the New York Tribune:

Why it should have waited till now, and for the stimulus of the composer’s coming before reaching the Metropolitan Opera House will not easily be explained by those admirers of the composer who have long known, or at least felt, that in spite of the high opinion in which “La Boheme,” “La Tosca,” and “Madame Butterfly,” are held here, “Manon Lescaut” is… fresher, more spontaneous, more unaffected and more passionate in its climaxes, as well as more ingratiatingly charming in its comedy element than any of the works from his pen that have succeeded it. The unmistakable voice of Puccini rings through all of its measures, but it is freer from the formularies which have since become more or less stereotyped, and there are a greater number of echoes of the tunefulness which belongs to the older period, between which and the present time the work marks a transition. After last night’s performance there is little likelihood that “Manon Lescaut” will again be permitted to fall into a desuetude, at least so long as Signor Caruso remains associated with the opera in New York, for in the character of the Chevalier des Grieux that artist has one of the finest mediums that he has yet disclosed for the exploitation of his phenomenal gifts of voice and manner.

Birthday anniversaries of composer Emmanuel Chabrier (1841), composer Berthold Goldschmidt (1903), conductor János Ferencsik (1907), and soprano Marianne Schech (19411914).

Martin Luther King Day 2021.