Aria: O child of love!

Composer: Herbert Victor

Opera: Natoma

Role: Don Francisco de la Guerra (Bass)

Download free scores: "O child of love!" PDF
Two children wandered hand in hand. Father Peralta. Natoma. HerbertLa Calunnia. Don Basilio. The Barber of Seville. RossiniHé quoi? parce que Mercure. Jupiter. Philémon et Baucis. GounodC'est un métier difficile. Comte Oscar. Barbe-bleue. OffenbachAmbo nati in questa valle. Antonio. Linda di Chamounix. DonizettiO Isis und Osiris. Sarastro. The Magic Flute. MozartBello ardir di congiurati... Fosca notte, notte orrenda. Faliero. Marino Faliero. DonizettiLa Dea d'Averno avvolta. Il Sommo Sacerdote. Alceste. GluckGospod' moy, yesli greshen ya. René. Iolanta. TchaikovskyMadamina, il catalogo è questo. Leporello. Don Giovanni. Mozart
Natoma is a 1911 opera with music by Victor Herbert, famous for his operettas, and libretto by Joseph D. Redding. It is a serious full-scale grand opera set in Santa Barbara, California in the "Spanish days" of 1820; the story and music are colored by "Indian" (Native American) and Spanish themes. It premiered in Philadelphia at the Metropolitan Opera House on February 25, 1911 and was later mounted at the New York Metropolitan Opera House on February 28, 1911.
Herbert stated that "I have tried to imitate Indian music. But I have used no special Indian theme. Indian themes are all very short and unharmonized. I have tried to get the effect of Indian music without using the thing itself. It is the same with some of the Spanish music which occurs in the score. There is Spanish coloring, but I have taken no special Spanish themes to start with."
Natoma was not quite the first American opera to be performed at the Metropolitan Opera—that honor belonged to The Pipe of Desire by composer Frederick Shepherd Converse and librettist George Edward Barton, which premiered March 18, 1910 —and in calling it an "American" opera, some newspapers quibbled about Herbert's Irish origin. Nevertheless, great anticipation preceded the premiere of this "American" opera with an English-language libretto, which featured first-rank stars Mary Garden and John McCormack and an unstinted production. (The production, in both Philadelphia and New York, was mounted by the Chicago Grand Opera Company, which did not present it in Chicago because the opera house there was fully booked for the season). Prior to the premiere the Times carried numerous articles, one being a full-page musical analysis quoting portions of the score in musical notation and analyzing their function within the structure of the opera.
The opera was, according to Meredith Willson, "probably the biggest flop of all time," although the Chicago production company retained it in its repertoire for three seasons. The Times reported that the audience at the Philadelphia premiere evidenced "positive excitement" after the first act, but that "After the second act, however, which is evidently intended to be the principal feature of the opera, in which the effects are piled one upon another, the audience was curiously apathetic."
In New York, the reviewer commented on "a fine production" and said "the management was very much in earnest in its production of 'Natoma,'" and that the opera "has had an enormous amount of preliminary heralding and puffery, and ... the Opera House was filled with a very large audience." Nevertheless, "at the end, the audience seemed wearied and anxious to go."
He called the libretto "amateurish," the prose "bald and conventional," and the lyrics "of the bad old operatic kind, constructed on Voltaire's theory that what is too foolish to be said is appropriate to be sung." He spends two paragraphs picking out improbabilities in the plot.
He called Herbert's music "pointedly and strongly dramatic." He questioned the value of the Indian "color," on the grounds that Indian music is not familiar to American ears,
In Meredith Willson's account—his having been born in 1902, presumably not at first hand—
In Willson's telling the situation was saved by Chauncey Depew, who made a speech in which he pulled out some clippings, saying it was appropriate to "read these reviews." Everyone froze in his chair as he read review after review saying things like "what happened last night was neither opera nor drama," "the performance was disgraceful and never should have been allowed," before revealing to the horrified audience that the reviews he was reading were not of Natoma, but actual reviews of the first performance of Bizet's Carmen. He saved the situation, but Willson opined that "It would have taken the great Manitou himself to have saved Natoma."
As a result of the research and processing of manuscript score and performing parts by Glen Clugston and Peter Hilliard, a first published edition of the opera is now available.
A three-day event culminating in a July 13, 2014 reading of the complete opera using the first published edition was produced under the auspices of VHRP LIVE! All parts of the event were open to the public. The reading was performed with a 58-piece orchestra, a 36-member chorus, soloists and was conducted by Gerald Steichen. This reading was favorably reviewed by national press including a review for OPERA NEWS There were also international articles about the event