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The following program was produced for national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation by W. B U R Boston. Boston University radio presents Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1893 to 1966 was will warm the. World. Your hosts are miles Kasten Deek music critic of The New York World. Journal Tribune.
And Milton Cross. It's easy to imagine how eager the Metropolitan's patrons must have been to return to the house for the season of 1891 and at long last that dreary Wagner and his cohorts would be gone and in their place would be their old favorites. It would be a year of light and joy of music. I really doubt though that anyone suspected just how much they would have to look forward to this. As it turned out was to be the first season of the Mets golden age. Three of the brightest stars who would shine through the years ahead were introduced to the Metropolitan on the opening night of the season. The opera was Romeo and Juliet the first work ever to be performed at the house in French. Maestro being a sea the veteran conductor from the first season was again in the pit and the three sing is making their debuts where Emma Ames and the Dred Scott brothers gene and Edward.
Let's listen to Ames as she sounded in the waltz aria from the opera. I am. Us. But. I am. Going. To. The back. To. The back. To. The back. Oh and.
Oh and. The but. The but. The but. Oh OK. Oh and. I am. Yes. Oh and. The balloon. Yeah but. Yes. Well.
Yes. The but. It. Will. Close. Oh. Wow. Oh oh oh oh oh oh. Oh.
Ames had a long and distinguished metropolitan career and the dreads brothers were four years the most glamorous figures walking the MITs board. Jeanne was a 10 000 reportedly could never be equal. Not even by Caruso one of the finest tributes to his vocal artistry was made by WJ Henderson in the times when he reviewed one of Gene's later performances of Tristan. Incomparable skill in the management of the vocal organs overcame all difficulties. It is enough this year dreads has demonstrated that Wagner can be sung. This even though dread ski never was primarily a Wagnerian tenor. His brother Edward was a fine robust baritone and an excellent actor as well. The two singers together must have been remarkable. Buck Revell commented to see such splendid representation to physical and artistic manhood on the stage was in itself a unique sensation. Unfortunately Jean has left no
recordings for us to hear. He did cut two discs but was dissatisfied inot of them destroyed while he watched. Nevertheless there is a Parisian disc of file who claims to have one of them from Edward doe. There is this fine sampling of one of his great role Don Carlo in me here the aria in Philly. Cold. Close. To home. Loaded. The whole.
Was the bowl. Full. Loaf. The old. Cold. Cold the globe. The goal was. Close. The close. Was the. Low blow but the goal. Goal was. Followed. Solo over
the old abo. Load the old. The old. The old. The hole over. The old. Under center 18 the direct skis were joined in a performance of a human and not by a young American soprano who was to remain with them as another of the enduring stars of the day were born in Maine as Lillian Norton. This
artist gave in to a peculiarity of the times by Italian izing her name and so appeared that night as Lillian Nordica a brief comment by Henderson summarizes the effect of that performance. The night was alive with fine singing Nordica soon went on to develop an extensive repertory including logic Conda from which part she sang sue a Cheeto with great intensity and dramatic feeling. In the world.
And so the golden age was ushered in by four outstanding singers. It's interesting to note that all of them were faced with a language difficulty that the Redskins were Polish while Ames and Nordica were Americans. Since neither of the native languages was an operatic one it didn't matter to them whether they sang in German French or Italian. They'd have to learn the language anyhow and they were dedicated enough to go ahead and study all three. This was to do much for their versatility and even more important the company's development of a wide multi-lingual repertory in the future. But in the very immediate future there was something quite grim in store for the Metropolitan. After a highly successful season Abbie and growl were faced with almost total disaster. On Aug. 27 1892 a can of paint thinner and a workman's cigarette combined to produce a blaze that completely gutted the inside of the house. When the stockholders heard the news they were astonished. But isn't the metropolitan
fire proof. They asked. The answer was simply that it had been before Abby and Groucho deactivated the sprinkler system because the water froze in the winter and hoisted up the fireproof curtain in front of the stage to provide better ventilation. This added ventilation worked wonderfully and fanning the flames on stage until they spread out into the auditorium. Best of all the new managers had the iron stage supports replaced with wooden ones to make more storage space under the stage for the scenery which by the way was excellent kindling. What shocked the stockholders most was the discovery that only $60000 insurance could be collected on the $300000 damages fall most of the directors. This was the last straw in a bundle that had been building for 10 years. They just wouldn't get involved any further. As a result the Metropolitan Opera House Company Limited was
bought out by a group comprising 19 of the original stockholders and 16 newcomers each member bought $30000 worth of stock and became a box owner. And with that the Metropolitan Opera and real estate company began the sad job of rebuilding. Meanwhile there was a lot of angry talk blaming Abby and growl for the fire they managed to escape. Most of it though and much of the bad feeling was dispelled when the house was seen on the opening night of 1893 after the refurbishing. The most spectacular change was the addition of electric lights which glittered so on the jewels in the parterre boxes that the Golden Horseshoe was soon dubbed the Diamond Horseshoe. The number of boxes had been reduced to 70 and were concentrated into tears. The third tier having given way to walk today was the dress circle. Cream red and gold with the predominant colors in the new decor and all in all the
audience must have been quite pleased by what had risen out of the ashes. No the golden age of opera at the Metropolitan could resume conforming to what had already become a tradition for any momentous event in metropolitan life. Faust was the opening night opera aims in the dread ski's head of the cast and remarkably enough this performance was the very first one sung in French. After this it didn't take long for the opera house to exert its own magnetic attraction which brought stars flocking to it from all over the world. Let's try to imagine the night of Nov. 29 a double bill feature film on the dock us who cavalierly Arista con three singers are making their debuts see good Donaldson and Paul plus all in the first opera Emma Callaway in the second. Not a bad show of new talent for one night. Speaking of class Tribune critic Agee Craig Beale noted he won the hearts of the audience with this enormous bass and suave
in Finnish style. He is destined to be a popular favorite. The prediction was fulfilled as planned son enjoyed a 12 season career at the Met singing a repertory of 75 wrote one of his finest characterizations Bane the sinister Mephistopheles involved.
Who was. Sure was.
He sure. Was. But the impression made by Plus a notable appearance nearly vanished an hour or so later in the commotion caused by Calvin is Santuzza. Pinpointed the characteristics made this NG assume remarkable when he wrote that she was a woman with hot blood in our veins whose voice takes color from the situation occasionally sets one's fingertips to
tingling. But the Met audience hadn't yet felt the full impact of Calvin's explosive talent that had to wait until the first performance of Carmen. This of course was their most famous part and I think it may have been so because the character's temperament was so close to her own calibers whole Metropolitan career was marred by emotional outbursts of one sort of another. An example of one of these has even been preserved on a record. Something seems to have upset her during a recording session at which she did the Carmen say good idea. She speaks angrily to the company as at the start and then at the end there must have been another disturbance for her last note is nothing more than a shriek and is followed by a burst of profanity which is quickly faded out.
But not even care of a burning talent could steal all the fire of that season. Understand before the Australian cholera Ciara Nellie Melba who wasn't the most even tempered artist either made her debut as a dilemma and the Mad Scene Fortunately preserved on records gave a fine demonstration of the voice that led Kraybill to call her the finest exponents of vocalization heard since eight thousand eighty three. Was.
I am I am.
Yes. By the end of the season Abby and GROL had also added Fernando Dillard and Mariano Cano to the roster and a new opera that er took its place in the repertory. Then they concluded the year with a gallery on April 27. All of the stars were there to perform an X from a variety of off roads society was out in full force reboarded Henderson and times and the boxes gleamed with satin and jewels at the end of the evening each of the artistes went to the footlights to say a few words and Nellie Melba finally quieted the turmoil by singing Home sweet home. A subtle hint perhaps.
It had been a glorious year for the MIT and the Golden Age had only just begun. There were many more fabulous sounds to come and we'll hear a lot of them on next week's program. Until then this is Milton Cross on behalf of miles cast in cheek hoping that you'll be with us. Boston University Radio has presented Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1883 to 966 the series is created and produced by Richard Calhoun a grant from the National Home Library Foundation has made possible the production of these programs for national educational radio. This is the national
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Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966
1893 Through 1897
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
1893 -1897. The House re-opens following a fire. Features recordings of Emma Calve', Pol Plancon, Nellie Melba, Francesco Tamagno.
Other Description
Documentary series on history of the Metropolitan Opera Company ("The Met") in its original home at Broadway and 39th Street in New York. "The Met" closed its old location on April 16, 1966. Series includes interviews and rare recordings of noted performers.
Broadcast Date
Performing Arts
Media type
Host: Cross, Milton, 1897-1975
Host: Kastendieck, Miles
Performer: Calve_, Emma, 1858-1942
Performer: Planc_on, Pol, 1851-1914
Performer: Melba, Nellie, Dame, 1861-1931
Performer: Tamagno, Francesco, 1850-1905
Producer: Calhoun, Richard
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-41-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:12
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Chicago: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1893 Through 1897,” 1966-09-23, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1893 Through 1897.” 1966-09-23. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1893 Through 1897. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from