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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. With. Boston University radio presents Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1893 to 1966. You're right it was the will. When you're saying anyone. Louis. Vuitton. Your hosts are miles past indie music critic of The New York World Tribune. And noton cross.
In the wake of the previous year's irritated and the 907 season at the Metropolitan wasn't exactly smooth sailing either. Conrad's health was worse than ever and Oscar Hammerstein xmen had an opera it was more competitive than ever. How much time the head even managed to open his season two weeks before the Mets and his roster this year displayed a wide variety of box office attractions including Mary God and Billy a Nordica and Madea one color can read managed to snatch out asunder all bunchy from Hammerstein's clutches but the Manhattan simplicity O simply produced new singers who Connery didn't seem to know existed such as Giovanni's on Othello Adamle de John is yet to be re Osh and shows us. His biggest coup though was when he swept Louisa tetras ini away from the Met's threshold when Khan Reed's season finally got underway on November
18th without the other Lukaku he faced competition from the Tales of Hoffmann being performed at the Manhattan opera and also from the opening of the Horse Show. It was another of those nights when New Yorkers had to choose between an operatic and an equestrian display for their entertainment of the very few artists introduced by Conrad this year the most extraordinary one was to a large degree a victim of circumstance. On November 20th the towering Russian Basso fadeout chatted up and made his debut in the title role of Mephistopheles. His performance drew much admiration for its display of an exceptional vocal technique with sustained power consistency and coherence. But is highly naturalistic acting brought forth quite a different reaction. Craig felt that he performed with disgusting frankness and Henderson commented that many of his effects were just cheap claptrap. He
is gritty and calls to mind than anything else the vulgarity of conduct which is present in his picture is a Russian. All of this remembering to the previous seasons indicates that an important taking place in the operatic world the elegance and refinement of the ERA was gradually being replaced by something and the dramatic interpretation as well. Imagine how the uninitiated metropolitan audience of 907 must have reacted to the characterization. Unfortunately she had arrived too early
and the shock of these new techniques overwhelmed the New York audience. As a result the end of the season and didn't return until nine hundred twenty one the Bassos daughter gave an account of her father's career and artistic standards when she was interviewed by Richard Gallo producer of our series. You were not with your father when he made his debut at the Metropolitan. As I write because I was baby my mother my brother boy. But you do remember him suppose after that hearing your father talk about some of the difficulties. Yeah because when I was grown I spoke about it.
Maybe the public didn't understand very well because because you know he did something and they were used to hear the Dine-In of that or the Italian artist and it was a stereotype and if he's made there was. Something very you know you startle people right at the first light. When he made his debut in Michael Stokley. Yes and in the prologue he did something I don't think any WANT TO done before. Yes yes. You see. My father was not on this thing that he was in. And he was also a painter and it's culture you know when he made some parts he saw his person as he saw him in another way.
So Miffy story is in that cloud in seeing his prologue. You know it would be very strange to see hiim glows like that. Thank you human bean you know. This is the death of this happened and how can you do that today. So she hid the. Invented to be new you know. And. It was really. Wonderful because he looked like a sculpture. He was wonderfully be able to know it was something you know the public first he could not bear it but that you know then this good that they were wonderful and that he really has to be there soon after the first of that he did he appeared in
raising his Barber of Seville in the part of it was really off. Yeah I think one of the things that upset critics and the public to some extent was that he started using the standard handkercher he chose to wipe his nose on the sleeve of his Cossack and that upset people too. No no no. He did not know if he can get you. You know he did not do such things didn't he were you not one of the things many of the crawling. I know only that it was amazing that he he was not very thin but he was very tall. But in the field. Scene because he was his idea were that this border there will be ever ever hungry and he eats very badly and then he is so poor that he sleeps. We are very sure because they were.
Worn down you know. And they became Sure sure the source that ensured that right. And then he was in Delhi and he was sitting in the train and he saw such a police like done by Delia. And this man came in in the rain and started to take off his car and this car was so long so long so long. So immediately he told my mother you know please really would you make me a scarf is the longest possible and it was one of his critiques you know when he came in on the stage he started to take over the car the and then the public started to laugh. Immediately you know. Well not when he made a lot more of that fairly small role normally done. Oh yes oh yes.
And. I think that. It was such an impression that the most important part. In Barbieri dissy really done by him. Because they are wonderful like my evil you know it was all very very in the bottle is more important than that's right Celia. But he made such a character that when you went home after the performance you saw only done by the Indian. Did he study acting or did all of his characterizations come from seeing people in real life. He he never wished that he had the one only one teacher. When he was very young. He was 18 19 years old and this teacher gave him more you know musical culture because my father he hid from the nature of his voice. He wasn't he
never learned to sing you know. And this teacher gave him a lot of culture musical culture and my father he was a very capable. And he was he loved his art. So you know he took game lines. Or I mean everything whatever after that first season he left the Metropolitan went back to Russia. I'm sure there were many interesting experiences that happen to him there. Yes it was a performance of the saddest Nicholas The second came to the performance of Buddy's good enough. And after the first act he wanted to see my father. So my father came in the box and he bowed
and said Your Majesty Nicholas look at him and bowed much deeper. And told. You magic was probably about the greatest compliment you could have been prime thing this is the most wonderful compliment because it's not going to the majesty that because he's sad but he's going to not hear the majesty of. Of all the parts I think. And Nicolas. That side that I sense that. He. He understood this. We have rather had other incidents with him I believe too or he had another experience with the side of this is a very nice story. He was invited in the palace and said it was very nice with my
father and asked him Mr. Shalev and tell me please why is that. Then I have much more success than the bus. They're more popular and my father replied You know we Basso we have it's terrible oh who are we performing. Oh man. They're both sad. It's why we have not heard of those or take the sad bad of that. He was a people pleaser and he said Very well. Then he didn't come back to America until 19 21 which was just after the Russian revolution I guess. And of course then in 21 he was a complete success. What do you remember him talking about.
They have to resign return to the Metropolitan various parts of course it was probably best known I guess for Boris in Boris good enough. And I guess you know the bodies are good enough I think this was the author of the keeper of. This and your love that Sonali the body. And I think that now everybody is singing and performing already like he did. Do any of them do as well. You know everybody has something you're going to be so skeptical that they'll that they really buy these not good but you know when you meet that somebody the mutation is worse then the original. You know that some act that they have and they're also took
something from there. You know. I saw somebody good enough. They were. Good. But not quite as good. While he was at the Metropolitan the second time he sang with a number of the great stars of the time like Caruso Bonzo and Martin only did he have any recollections of these people. Oh yes he is very very much because my father he was he was never jealous of somebody. He was so pleased when somebody was really under him and he was very nervous. And he did not understand that somebody could not be good not even they sing a part you know and they think are wrong. This he could not stand he couldn't stand. When I was a little girl
and I took piano lessons. And I did not play right. I might bend but was not that I thought he was so furious You cannot imagine. And he could not understand how I can and immediately understand how to play so he was with his act that fellow the same think if somebody could not speak up he was furious. Generally then it might be true that he was temperamental or some people have certain words but you know now I realize that he was right. He was right. He did some fight with the director. Were any of the people he sang with particular favorites of his did he ever mention any of his colleagues who me particularly enjoyed to sing with the English.
He liked very much to the people. From the Russian When in Paris existed this Russian that he liked very much presume of course in that he was a thin are very good. Then in some of the first performances of Boris your father saying his role in Russian and the other singer saying in Italian Did he ever mention that this created any problems for him I should think aboard. Yes before he sang in that action but land when he decided to sing in time. And he was a very nervous you know. The for he made a tremendous where he it was that that installation you're not buttons he corrected something.
He corrected something himself he spoke very well that because my mother was a valiant and he did this work together with my mother. And when he came it was in the. It was in the courtesy I think you came to think in the left column Milano. And he was so nervous to sinking it got him and I told him you know father if you make up their words or something you're going to mean the Russian Did you know that for HUME It was so I had I covered him so much because he was very right if you're not his doctor or mixed up the very what will happen. So everything quaint wonderfully cake is not the word that I should look at words in my brain you know so we mainly expected in expected his colleagues to do well because he expected so much of him so I. Did he learned rose quickly.
Yes Senor. Oh the growth. All of the pilots everybody in every aisle that this was and me and all of not not just his own all the others oh oh oh and the corals and the pirates everything goods and music. Did your father in any way feel that he was changing the overall style of operatic performances did he try to do this consciously. In other words by being more natural and realistic or was this just something you couldn't help you know I think with the years he grew up in. His performance like every hour every hour this pain that are right there are you know. They they grow up. I think he sounds much better than when he was older when he was young because when he was young. It's natural for his voice you know was maybe. Bigger or you know you go he could not bear it you know.
And when he was all that he feared he knew the nuances you know you know if you sing for fuel for the fuel for the fuel for that then you will blow up. I think that that good beauty when you think you know you think and I think probably later on in his career too he found that the other singers were beginning to interpret roles more the way he saw them. There was a 19 I was 7 he was still singing with people like Ted Cruz Ian Ian Farrar who were the old bel canto school and you know this again in the difficulties you had in getting his interpretations accepted whereas when he came back later on the his style was becoming more prevalent and like I imagine this would help too in the overall performance
as he gave. Oh yes yes. Because you see now that active you know they don't think only they're bad but they perform. And we have now a wonderful active hero that made the bullet not that I need it here. So they changed very much not only their voice but their bank holiday. You know before of this guy I mean seeing goes the room and seeing that they wear that effect and because of what it does if you want to have a group of boys you have to eat it. But now you see a completely different. Because it has to be also. If they think the right look at this. What about his life at home was we always annoyed
of someone who said that he was it seemed as if he were always performing at home he was it wonderful father. He was a wonderful. Friend. It was a pleasure to stay with him. He like. His children and children in general if you like very much. Did he worry much about taking care of his voice and his health. You know. He smoked there came to the room or yes he did. And all his life he hid the beat this in so he should not be bred that sweetness. These and that he did it do you know but sometimes he was like a child. We were sitting in Pee wee's all kinds of sweetness. He kicked the can develop something and he had under way.
You know he told me right. He told me to be an actor you get to be a very cultured person. You cannot be done kind of the same like body is good enough. The big difference you know and you know you have to know who was drunk. What was that Apple and the bill and he thought Oh there is one thing but he sure knew when he handed the match that so much down and so much where the WHO WOULD care again wonderful to let go. Maybe we need little else happens consummate artistry. After hearing this interpretation of King Philip's great soliloquy from Don Carlo.
Next week we'll be back at the met with a new managerial regime. The start
of the 26 year reign of Julio got tickets. Until then this is Milton Cross on behalf of Myles custom the egg hoping that you'll be with us. The Be. Wrong with. News. 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 educational radio network.
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Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
1907. Feodor Chaliapin, the Russian basso, makes his debut and immediately causes great controversy. His daughter, Tania Chaliapin, is interviewed about the difficulty her father had in adjusting to the United States.
Series 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
Interviewee: Chaliapin, Tania
Performer: Chaliapin, Fyodor Ivanovich, 1873-1938
Producer: Calhoun, Richard
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-41-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:51
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Chicago: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1907,” 1966-10-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1907.” 1966-10-03. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1907. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from