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Two weeks from tonight the curtain will go up on the Metropolitan's premiere performance in the 1938 Boston season. And it is with a shout of joy that many of us will greet that opening opera, Verdi's "Otello." For rare indeed are the opportunities of American audiences to hear this masterpiece of the Italian composer's prime.
Far be it from us to decry the immense popularity which Wagner has enjoyed, during the last few years. The great voice of Mme. Kirsten Flagstad is perfectly adapted to interpret such roles as Brunnhilde and Isolde; and it is largely to the Norwegian soprano's credit that Wagner has zoomed to the heights of favor in this country. Proof that Boston is still Wagnerian minded is demonstrated by the fact that already the seats for "Tristan," "Parsifal,"and "Lohengrin" are completely sold out.
But certainly no one composer should be sung to the exclusion of other writers whose works are of equal merit. Last year, with the entire "Ring" cycle and several individual Wagnerian operas all crowded into ten days, there was a complete lack of balance in the musical fare. That is why Verdi's "Otello," Mozart's "Don Giovanni," and Richard Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier" are such welcome additions to the 1938 Boston list.
No comment need be made on a work which Rossini considered representative of "the perfect balance between science and genius," and so we pass over "Don Giovanni" to consider "Der Rosenkavalier." This opera combines expertly three phases of Strauss's genius, his dramatic flare in the overture, many a charming Vicnneso waltz and pure Mozart-like melodies. The trio for female voices, which foreshadows the duet for soprano and alto in "Arabella," has been ranked with the famous quintet from Wagner's "Dic Meistersinger." And the entrance of the Rosenkavalier in the second act, clad all in white, is one of the most brilliant scenes in all opera.
The Metropolitan is to be congratulated on its choice of works for the Boston season.
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