[Met Performance] CID:104180
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {143} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/24/1930.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 24, 1930


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA {143}

Figaro..................Giuseppe De Luca
Rosina..................Amelita Galli-Curci [Last performance]
Count Almaviva..........Armand Tokatyan
Dr. Bartolo.............Pompilio Malatesta
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Henriette Wakefield
Fiorello................Alfredo Gandolfi
Sergeant................Alfredo Gandolfi

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

[In the Lesson Scene Galli-Curci sang Deh torna mio bene (Proch) and Home sweet home from Clari (Bishop).]

Account of Charles D. Isaacson in the Telegraph of Amelita Galli-Curci's farewell:

It is a most unhappy circumstance that I, who was first in the city to hail Galli-Curci, queen of coloratura singing, should find it within my bounden duty to record as wise the decision which prompts the prima donna in bidding farewell to the opera house. This opinion was reached not only Friday, when for the last time Amelita Galli-Curci sang at the Metropolitan in Rossini's "Barber of Seville," but the previous Saturday, when she essayed the heroine in "Romeo and Juliet."

Fate has been extremely capricious with this extraordinary Roman woman. It denied her success in her early years in her native country and in South America, dangled her at the end of a string for agonizing months here, and finally gave her the most unprecedented leap into fame which has come in the present generation. Then it carried her to wealth and immortality, darkened her happiness with domestic mishaps, and finally attacked her physically in a manner as cruel as could befall one whose life is in her throat. This insidious and malignant internal disorder has gripped at the diva's throat and weakened her ability to strike at the topmost notes of her unique and individual voice.

It has been heartbreaking to those who love Galli-Curci and her art to watch her struggle for very breath itself in certain hazardous moments. These friends have hoped for the time when Mme. Galli-Curci's native common sense would cause her to change her school of singing, abandon the operatic stage and continue in the field of concert, where she may continue to serve the cause of beauty and art for at least a decade to come.

Friday night, as the much-sought Rossini, Mme. Galli-Curci made her operatic farewell. On the streets the ticket speculators did a rushing business, which corresponded with those days, only a few years ago, when a Galli-Curci night sent prices soaring.

Sixteen years ago, in Chicago, the prima donna, who had been refused persistently by the Metropolitan, the Boston Opera, the Chicago Opera, and the impresario of the Strand Theater (the then Mr. Rothapfel) managed through melodramatic diplomacy to win a place in an off-night performance at the Auditorium. It was as Gilda in "Rigoletto," and overnight she became immortal and the most demanded vocalist, outside Caruso in our time. For years the Metropolitan sought to win Galli-Curci's favor, and at last she joined the New York forces, singing on the [first] night.

Now, the swan song to her operatic career. The first aria given to Rosina, found Galli-Curci nervous and ill at ease, suffering from her inability to sustain the top range. However, she recovered, and had the joyous satisfaction of knowing that in all truth that she capitulated in the atmosphere of genuine triumph. The lesson scene brought a captivating rendition of the "Shadow Song" from "Dinorah," followed by her own personally accompanied 'Home Sweet Home" in English. The distinctive and flower-petal quality of Galli-Curci's fragrant voice was in rich evidence, lifting and winging its way into memories of the listeners. Where in all the garden of birds, is there such another as this human heaven-soaring songster?

Publics everywhere for years to come, may hear the concert appearances of Galli-Curci, in perfectly rendered songs of all lands, but no more will the patrons of opera know her except as a memory.

Responding to recalls, beyond number, and long into the night, the diva, surrounded by flowers, responded with a brief speech, and permitted her fellow artists to salute and kiss her hand. The cast which was summoned for the occasion was generally superior. Mr. De Luca was a bright, original and spirited Figaro; Mr. Pinza, an overdrawn Basilio, winning applause and laughter with illegitimate exaggerations; Mr. Malatesta, on the other hand, succeeded within the bounds of good taste and tradition. Mr. Tokatyan as the Count varied from very good to very poor work, the latter being in the first scene only. Good fun, which provoked laughter and good will, prevailed throughout. Mr. Bellezza conducted enthusiastically and tunefully. How good, how very good to hear the bubbling melodies of Gioachino Rossini, after many modern atonalists!



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