The advent of the Chicago Opera Company has, for the coming fortnight, laid desolate the concert halls of the city, for what manager would be rash enough during Boston's annual two weeks of opera, when musical Boston gravitates or is supposed to gravitate towards the Opera House, to offer concerts to a public already well on its way to satiety. Yet there are managers who will risk such concerts and by the same token there is even now an audience for them. Any doubts on this subject were dispelled last night when Mme. Eva Gauthier sang to an audience that almost filled Jordan Hall at the same time Mary Garden was singing "Louise", in the Opera House. Mme. Gauthier showed a sense of humor, when, apologizing for her lateness in beginning the concert, she explained that she had been delayed in the crowd going to hear Mary Garden.
Seldom does one find a program which embraces numbers so far apart as did the program of Mme. Gauthier. She began with a group of eighteenth century airs from Bellini, Perucchini, and the Englishmen, Purcell and Byrd, followed it with a group of modern Hungarian and German songs by Bartok and Hindemith, rose to a climax with a group of American jazz songs by Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and George Gershwin, and descended through Schoenberg, Arthur Bliss and Milhaud to the end of her program.
Aptly and concisely to describe her singing, one would have to go to Keats for the phrase "singing in full-throated ease." Mme. Gauthier possesses that limpidness and clear contour of tone necessary for the singer of the eighteenth century Italians, but she succeeded best, as far as her first group of songs was concerned, with the "Cradle Song" of William Byrd, a composer of Elizabethan England. The outstanding thing in her program, however, was her group of American songs. She sang "Alexander's Ragtime Band" with a vigor which brought out remarkably well the musical richness of the piece. It must have taken a great deal of courage for a singer with a reputation for artistry such as Mme. Gauthier's to attempt songs which have so long been an object of contempt and ridicule among those who profess a knowledge of the art, but she was amply rewarded by an audience which showed by its enthusiastic applause that she had revealed to it a wealth of color and artistic vigor in American jazz. George Gershwin played the accompaniments for this group and as an encore Mme. Gauthier sang his "Do It Again" and the enthusiam of her audience compelled her to do it again. Mme. Gauthier displayed herself as one with artistic ideals and with more to her equipment as a singer than a pleasing voice can supply.