“A Teutonic Zaza” « parterre field

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Richard L. Stokes in The Night World:

The embittered controversy between Mmes. Rethberg and Jeritza as to which was the composer’s alternative for the function of Helen – he’s stated to have assured each of his desire – ended as far as America is worried with the latter on the head of final evening’s solid. Those that hoped for a repetition of the prima donna’s fiasco of final season in “Carmen” weren’t somewhat upset.

Each in her performing and singing, Mme. Jeritza noticed for essentially the most half a commendable restraint and serenity. There have been no “stunts” on this portrait, no pursuit of headlines and sensation. Such screaming as occurred was the fault of the composer. Largely the function was sung quietly, if not superbly, with one thing of the repose and management of Mme. Jeritza’s Elizabeth.

However the Helen of legend and of this guide possessed two principal qualities which had been fairly past the attain of the Bohemian cantatrice – majesty and seductiveness. For all her stature, Mme. Jeritza scarcely approached a regal, to say nothing of a basic, dignity. The Queen of Sparta, as an example, wouldn’t have crept into Althra’s palace like a burglar and examined its furnishings with the curiosity of a avenue arab. And the singer’s notion of allurement, together with her husband in addition to with Altair and Da-Ud appeared to consist in ponderous coquetries and writhings, within the vein of a Teutonic Zaza. This was not a Helen to launch a thousand ships, or perhaps a tugboat.

Birthday anniversaries of bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (1920), baritone Renato Capecchi (1923) and mezzo-soprano Beverly Wolff (1928).



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