[Met Performance] CID:100020
Andrea Chénier {44} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 10/30/1928.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
October 30, 1928


ANDREA CHÉNIER {44}
U. Giordano-Illica

Andrea Chénier..........Beniamino Gigli
Maddalena...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Carlo Gérard............Giuseppe Danise
Bersi...................Ellen Dalossy
Countess di Coigny......Ina Bourskaya
Abbé....................Alfio Tedesco
Fléville................George Cehanovsky
L'Incredibile...........Angelo Badà
Roucher.................Millo Picco
Mathieu.................Adamo Didur
Madelon.................Marion Telva
Dumas...................Arnold Gabor
Fouquier Tinville.......William Gustafson
Schmidt.................Pompilio Malatesta
Major-domo..............Pompilio Malatesta

Conductor...............Tullio Serafin

Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............Triangle Studio [Acts I, II]
Set designer............James Fox [Acts III, IV]
Costume designer........Triangle Studio
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

Andrea Chénier received four performances this season.

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

METROPOLITAN OPERA

'Andrea Chenier' Opens New York Company's Season at the Academy

Once more the Metropolitan Opera Company began its Philadelphia season at the Academy of Music last evening, when "Andrea Chenier" was given as the first of twenty-two weekly performances, the last of which will take place on April 9. There was the usual distinguished first-night audience, socially representative and brilliant in appearance, but with little, after all, to distract attention from the excellent performance of Giordano's opera. While the work is less pretentions and imposing in aspect than some of those which have served to introduce the new season, it has much to attract musically and last night's performance was notable for some fine singing, particularly by Beniamino Gigli, in the title role, and Elizabeth Rethberg as Madeleine, the faithful sweetheart of the poet-hero of French Revolutionary days.

The story of "Andrea Chenier" is not unfamiliar, founded as it is upon historical fact, its central figure the third son of Louis Chenier, French Consul General at Constantinople. The scene of the opera is Paris where Chenier turns revolutionary and finally is sent to the guillotine, at the last moment accompanied by Madeleine. There are some poetic and romantic episodes leading up to the culminating tragedy, all of which Umberto Giordano has set off with beautiful and wholly enhancing music. Especially appealing are the solo passages for soprano and tenor and the impassioned duets, in which Andrea and Madeleine first reveal their love and then declare allegiance, even unto death. Mr. Gigli was in excellent form last night. The music for the most part suits his voice with only a few places where it demands more than he can supply of dramatic power, and he used with taste and expression the pure lyric tones which make his singing, particularly in mezzo voce, a real delight to the listener.

Mme. Rethberg also gave occasion for genuine satisfaction. She was a graceful and attractive figure as Madeleine, with simplicity and sincerity of manner, and fully shared the vocal honors with the tenor, though the audience was not inclined to show much enthusiasm in the expression of its appreciation.

The cast included Giuseppe Danise, dramatically and vocally efficient as Charles Gerard; Adamo Didur, as Mathieu; Pompilio Malatesta, in the dual capacity of the Major-Domo and Schmidt, the jailer; Ina Bourskaya, as Countess De Coigny; Ellen Dalossy who was animated in action and admirable in her singing of some rather ungrateful music, as Bersi, the Mulatto, and a number of others. The chorus has an important part in several scenes and did it noticeably well, the singing of the group of women in the lovely "Oh, Gentle Nymphs, Adieu," being the real tonal charm.

The presence of Tullio Serafin as conductor had much to do with the success of the performance, in the places where it achieved real musical excellence. He knows how to hold things together, to get the best out of the orchestra and, at the same time, help the singers to show what they can do, and only two or three times did he permit the instruments to obscure the voices, and then for the purpose of justifiable dramatic effect.



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