[Met Performance] CID:105390
L'Elisir d'Amore {45} Lyric Theater, Baltimore, Maryland: 04/25/1930.

(Review)


Baltimore, Maryland
April 25, 1930


L'ELISIR D'AMORE {45}

Adina...................Editha Fleischer
Nemorino................Beniamino Gigli
Belcore.................Giuseppe De Luca
Dr. Dulcamara...........Ezio Pinza
Giannetta...............Philine Falco

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

Responding to audience applause, Beniamino Gigli repeated "Una furtiva lagrima."


Review of Mark Watson in the Baltimore Sun:

Gigli Achieves Triumph in Donizetti Opera Role

Tenor draws Tumultuous Applause in Final Scene of "L'Elisir D'Amore" - Pinza Also in Cast of Performance

By far the most enthusiastic audience which has yet appeared at the Lyric in the current season of Metropolitan Opera last night broke into continuous applause for Beniamino Gigli and gave that distinguished tenor the most marked triumph of the week. The climax was reached in the final scene of "L'Elisir D'Amore,' in which he sings the most beautiful air of the Donizetti opera. Repetitions in Metropolitan Grand Opera are almost unheard of, and the program solemnly warns, "Positively No Repetitions Allowed," but the applause on this occasion was so vigorous and long continued that the rule was abandoned and Gigli, beaming with delight, repeated the air.

The evening's success was a special triumph for Gigli, Ezio Pinza, Editha Fleischer and the rest of the excellent cast, because the audience itself was the least robust of the three nights thus far. True, there were more than a hundred persons standing at the rear of the two floors, but there were empty seats readily seen here and there, which had not been the case at "Louise," nor, of course, at "Aida," where every seat was sold days in advance and 1,200 were standing. What caused the lessened interest in not easy to discern.

Reasons Are Given

Possibly it was unfamiliarity with an opera seldom performed until Caruso's revival of it and rarely given since his death. Possibly it was a suspicion of anything of a vintage of nearly a century ago. More likely it was the presence in the cast of only one really great celebrity - in contrast with the galaxy assembled in "Aida." For example, quite patently Baltimore audiences enjoy seeing and hearing celebrities. Whatever the cause, the advance sale had not been as good as for the first two operas nor for the fourth, Halevy's "La Juive," the advance sale of which is already reported as almost complete. Normally the enthusiastic houses are limited to sold-out houses, but this was far from the case last night, as the third-act demonstration proved.

The opera is readily identified as to the time of its creation by its recitative. It bursts with melodies, but few of them are familiar to modern ears. It lacks, too, the complex orchestration which Wagner operas - Verdi himself succumbing to the Wagner influence, with most fortunate results. These are its conspicuous lacks, but there are ample qualities which are not lacking, a gayety and sparkle and unending movement that the later masters of opera could envy. Pure "opera bouffe." Its plot gives the music itself dash which feebler libretti cannot supply. So constructed, it calls for some extraordinary acting as well as singing and last night's cast supplied it abundantly.

Pinza Displays Ability

Ezio Pinza, who is probably the youngest principal barytone in either of the great opera companies, but who for two or three years has been singing like a veteran, had been expected to supply some admirable song, and did. But last night he displayed a very high ability as "Buffo," which contributed immeasurable to the success of the performance.

Gigli, who in previous appearances had never justified such enthusiasm for his acting powers, was still more of a surprise, portraying a not quite bright rustic in highly amusing as well as highly melodious fashion. And Editha Fleischer sang and acted the flirtatious Adina quite as well as her comrades could have asked -- and at the close of the performance won plaudits almost as hearty as Gigli's. She, too, is a young singer. The reliable De Luca was an excellent sergeant.

Tibbett in Audience

Gigli, of course, for some years has been regarded as probably the best of the present list of lyric tenors. Pinza is not so well known, but as mentioned the other day he is on the way to correct that situation. If his coming tour with the talkies produces a sound-film comparable to that which has made Lawrence Tibbett a great popular figure, on top of his deserved reputation as a very great artist. Pinza's name will be much better known a year hence than it is now.

Mr. Tibbett, by the way, was very much present, although on the forward side of the footlights. Rising in Frederick R. Huber's box, where he was seated beside the Mayor and Dr. William H. Welsh, he attracted so much attention that he hastily took his seat again. He had sung in Washington in the afternoon. The company was in Washington for Wednesday and Thursday and for a matinee performance of "Traviata" yesterday, aiming, for box office reasons, to spread the Washington attractions over three days and risking the difficulties incidental to making the Washington-Baltimore hop between afternoon and evening performances.



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