[Met Performance] CID:106270
Don Giovanni {81} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/17/1930.


Metropolitan Opera House
November 17, 1930


Don Giovanni............Ezio Pinza
Donna Anna..............Rosa Ponselle
Don Ottavio.............Beniamino Gigli
Donna Elvira............Maria Müller
Leporello...............Pavel Ludikar
Zerlina.................Editha Fleischer
Masetto.................Louis D'Angelo
Commendatore............Léon Rothier

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

Review of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun

'Don Giovanni' at Metropolitan

Misses Ponselle and Müller Sing in First Performance of Opera Buffa This Season

General Manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza, having found last season a good measure of public interest in Mozart's celebrated opera buffa, "Don Giovanni," has retained it in his carefully selected repertory, and last evening it received its first performance of this young and enterprising season. A large audience (audiences at the Metropolitan Opera House are always large) sat in attentive silence and applauded appropriately after each of the famous numbers.

There was reason for renewed consideration of the presentation. There was a new impersonation to be studied. Miss Ponselle and Miss Müller had special opportunities to exhibit themselves, while Mr. Pinza once more demanded sympathy for his heroic effort to identify himself with the role of Don Giovanni.

Miss Müller, who was not in the cast last winter, is undoubtedly well acquainted with the traditional German manner of performing "Don Giovanni." There was plentiful evidence of this in her Donna Elvira, which had dramatic and declamatory vigor. The impersonation was well planned and had a distinct individuality. The music was not wholly within the lady's grasp, but her singing of it was intelligent. Few realize how difficult the apparently fluent number "In quali eccessi" is. If Miss Müller was not technically above reproach in it, she was but one of a large number of unfortunates.

Miss Ponselle was not at her best last evening. Her Donna Anna is an admirable composition, but the voice was not always responsive. Mr. Gigli walked through the peripatetics of Don Ottavio with composure and sang "Dalla sua pace" beautifully. He does not match it with his "Il mio Tesoro." Mr. Pinza made some improvement over his Don Giovanni of last season by lightening up his voice as much as possible. But his occasional explosions in the recitatives did not belong to the Mozart school. His "Fin ch'han dal vino" was done with gusto and at a breathless pace.

Editha Fleischer was the Zerlina. She sang the role last season, but was even more delightful in it last night. From time to time a woman comes out of Germany equipped with a stock of bel canto which astonishes those accustomed to defective legato vainly disguised under a declamatory resonance of phrases. Miss Fleischer has a beautiful legato and fluent delivery of florid passages which preserves their ornamental value and their necessary effect of spontaneity. Zerlina has only one of two very brief exfoliations, but Miss Fleischer makes them burgeon into flowers.

Mr. Ludikar's Leporello continued to be the gay and vivacious varlet of last winter, but he seemed to be rather Don Giovanni's fidus Achates than his servant. Mr. D'Angelo was a humorous Masetto. Mr. Serafin conducted, as he did before, with knowledge and command. The continuity of the opera was again broken by the lowering of curtains before which some of the airs were sung. The device was not always successful in preventing delays in the changes of scene. It may be conjectured that the audience probably had well defined opinions about the persistent pounding of palms by the claque which was never a greater public nuisance that it was last evening.

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