[Met Performance] CID:100120
Norma {19} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/7/1928.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 7, 1928


NORMA {19}
Bellini-F. Romani

Norma...................Rosa Ponselle
Pollione................Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Adalgisa................Marion Telva
Oroveso.................Ezio Pinza
Flavio..................Giordano Paltrinieri
Clotilde................Minnie Egener

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

Director................Samuel Thewman
Designer................Joseph Urban

Norma received eight performances this season.

Review (unsigned ) in the Musical Courier

Rosa Ponselle once again captured an expectant audience with her masterful singing of Bellini's work. Those who have a slight knowledge of the difficulties involved in a real acquisition of the even vocal line must be at the feet of Miss Ponselle in worshipful admiration of her accomplishment. She is today hailed as one of the greatest of dramatic sopranos, and she justly deserves the title since her achievement in "Norma."

She surpasses herself in the "Casta Diva" aria, in which from beginning' to end, she continues to astound her hearers with a dignity, reserve, purity of tone, complete mastery of tonal projectment and control of her powers; qualities which belong only to the truly great. One might expect that with such concentration on the perfection of tone there might be a let-down in the dramatic values, but not with Miss Ponselle. She imbues the part of the betrayed priestess with a dominating vitality by which she towers over the entire situation. Coupled with this are finesse and good taste which never allow her to intrude or overdo - characteristics gratefully evident in all her duets and ensembles.

Giacomo Lauri-Volpi was in excellent voice too. His tones were ringing, sure, and invested with a deep emotion. Of a part that could easily dwindle before the highlights of the priestess, he has made a heroic figure; one that can easily be associated with the usual conception of the Roman - a man confident in the face of any adverse judgment. In the last scene with Ponselle, when remorse conquers him, he achieved high dramatic intensity. He was especially feted after his aria in the first act.

Marion Telva has grown considerably in her impersonation of Adalgisa, not only vocally but histrionically as well. Both facts were decidedly noticeable and in her duet with Norma in the third act. Whatever Ezio Pinza does, whether a role suits him or not dramatically, one is always sure to hear one of the finest bassos that has appeared on the Metropolitan stage. Minnie Egener and Giordano Paltrinieri completed the cast.

Last but not least comes our appreciation of Mr. Serafin's conducting. It is a thing of record that he gives the singers fine support, but in this old work of Bellini he is to be commended for the warmth and life he gives it plus the knowledge of how to present an old work to a modern audience.



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