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Music: Opera Season

2 minute read

Last week as the No. 1 opera house of the U. S., Manhattan’s Metropolitan, launched its 54th season, General Manager Edward Johnson and his associates found opera’s financial and artistic graphs like those of the stockmarket. After a Depression, they appeared to be starting a slow, but not uniform long term rise. The statistics:

This season will be 16 weeks long, two weeks longer than the Metropolitan’s record low of 14, reached in 1933-36. Prior to 1932 the Metropolitan ran 24 weeks.

The repertory includes 47 operas, including 17 German, 17 Italian, nine French, two U. S. and two Russian.

New productions (all revivals): Orpheus and Eurydice, Falstaff, Louise, Boris Godounoff, Thais, Fidelia.

Fourteen new singers: six Italians, four Germans, three Americans, one Swede.

New conductor: 27-year-old German-born Erich Leinsdorf, promoted from the ranks of the assistant conductors where he made several sensational appearances last year.

New ballet: An entirely reorganized company under the direction of Russian-born Choreographer Boris Romanoff.

Meanwhile the Chicago Opera, No. 2 in the U. S., chalked up the fourth week of its finest season since the plush & ermine days of Samuel Insull. Impresario Paul Longone, who was almost thrown out three years ago, had also taken a cue from the stockmarket and climbed slowly & steadily back into favor.

This season will be seven weeks long (the same as last; three weeks longer than Chicago’s bottom-bumping season of 1933-34).

New conductor: wiry U. S.-born Edwin McArthur, long familiar as accompanist to Kirsten Flagstad, who made his much-talked-about debut last week conducting a performance of Lohengrin in which Soprano Flagstad sang.

New ballet: The Catherine Littlefield Dancers, specially imported from Philadelphia to replace last season’s Ruth Page Ballet.

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