[Met Performance] CID:101440
Aida {338} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/12/1929.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 12, 1929


AIDA {338}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Maria Müller
Radamès.................Frederick Jagel
Amneris.................Julia Claussen
Amonasro................Giuseppe Danise
Ramfis..................Ezio Pinza
King....................William Gustafson
Messenger...............Giordano Paltrinieri
Priestess...............Aida Doninelli
Dance...................Rita De Leporte

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

METROPOLITAN OPERA

'Aida' with Maria Müller in Title Role of Spectacular Production

The Metropolitan Opera Company brought another old favorite to the Academy of Music last night, presenting "Aida" for the fourteenth of its series of twenty-two weekly appearances. There was an excellent prima donna, a fine conductor and some brilliant new costumes to give distinction to the performance of the familiar Verdi opera, even if some of the vocalism did not range much above the ordinary. Tullio Serafin held the baton, and that means that the orchestra was well in hand and that good support was given the singers who, at the same time, had a fair chance to be heard. Mr. Serafin gives close and sympathetic attention to musical effects, but he realizes, for the most part, that singers, after all, are human. The mounting of the opera was on a sumptuous scale, with massive scenery that had been seen before, but costumes which had the colorful radiance of newness, the "triumphal return" climax of the second act rising to brilliant ensemble achievement and dazzling, spectacular splurge, with supple, graceful Rita De Laporte as premiere of the unusually fine ballet.

The title role was sung by Maria Müller, a sincere and finely equipped artist, who made Aida a living and appealing figure and not merely an operatic leading lady. There was real feeling and dramatic intensity in the acting of the part and lyric charm as well as dramatic forcefulness in Mme. Müller's singing. If her higher tones seemed a bit shrill at first, they gained in volume and brilliance of effect, the delivery of the first act aria, "Ritorna Vincitor" being quite eclipsed in the third act by "O, Patria Mia," which is not too often so beautifully sung. Here, too, Frederick Jagel, the Radames, was at his best, especially in the duet with the soprano, in which their tones blended well. The tenor has improved noticeably since he was first heard here, being somewhat more at ease and with a better idea of stage deportment, while his voice is used with more smoothness and poise. He sang "Celeste Aida," at least, without shouting it and in a manner which imparted a suggestion that it is a love song and not a battle cry, and there was a grateful sympathetic quality in much of his work.

Giuseppe Danise, the Amonasro, in action as well as appearance, adequately visualized the ferocious Ethiopian King in rebellious captivity and, while fuller, richer tones might have been wished for to give full effect to the music, the baritone sang with his well-known skill. Julia Claussen looked regal in gorgeous raiment as the passion-swayed Amneris and put a lot of vim into her singing of the intense role. If her voice sounded somewhat frayed at times, the lower tones were good and the upper ones used with telling effect, notably in the contralto's "big scene" in the third act, the judgment hall. The cast also included William Gustafson, as the imposing King of Egypt, and Ezio Pinza as the High Priest, both capable vocally, while the clear and pure, if somewhat thin soprano tones of Aida Donnielli heard here for the first time - sounded in good tune from off-stage as the Priestess in the temple scene, the music being well-intoned by the invisible female choir.



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