[Met Performance] CID:110010
Rigoletto {186} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/19/1932.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 19, 1932


RIGOLETTO {186}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Giuseppe De Luca
Gilda...................Lily Pons
Duke of Mantua..........Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Maddalena...............Ina Bourskaya
Sparafucile.............Léon Rothier
Monterone...............Alfredo Gandolfi
Borsa...................Angelo Badà
Marullo.................Millo Picco
Count Ceprano...........Paolo Ananian
Countess Ceprano........Minnie Egener
Giovanna................Philine Falco
Page....................Paolina Tomisani

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

Review of Henry C. Beck in the Philadelphia Record

'RIGOLETTO' BRINGS LILY PONS OVATION

Diva Hailed at Academy's Largest Audience in Weeks

Lily Pons, making her first appearance of the season in Philadelphia last night, as Gilda in Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto," achieved a success that caught something of the magic of her debut in this city. With the best-filled Academy the invading Metropolitan Opera Company has been pleased to entertain for some weeks making the occasion auspicious, the diminutive soprano was greeted in the second act with the most sustained show of enthusiasm exhibited here in many moons. The Gilda of Mme. Pons is perfection itself, so far as the vocal interpretation is concerned, although the part histrionically is a mere series of pretty gestures and graceful movements hither and yon. Last night this charming singer was in excellent voice, beginning her work with marked but artistic restraint and attaining her best in the famous aria of the second act.

Sings With Ease.

Mme. Pons sings with a charming absence of anything that rhymes with effort, a quality one cannot appreciate in recorded versions of this soprano, something that must be witnessed in the person. It was obviously Pons Night and the singer in question was kept bowing long before she climbed the scenic steps. Even then she was brought down again with a new salvo before the fashionables would drop their enthusiasm.

Giuseppe DeLuca's portrayal of the title role was so excellent that it all but became a part of Mme. Pons' cordial reception. Years of repetition and thought have given Mr. DeLuca a knowledge of his work in this particular opera that cannot lose balance beside any operatic star. Mr. DeLuca compelled Mme. Pons to take an ovation alone in the second intermission, and so the generous diva turned the tables on her companion of the piece at the next opportunity. Leon Rothier made a most villainous Sparafucile, his deep-chested basso well suiting the part of the bungling murderer. Giacomo Lauri-Volpi sang the Duke with a showiness that was pleasant at times and, at others, less ingratiating.

Voice Fine and Strong

His voice is strong and unblemished, but he delights in demonstrating these attainments so forcefully in holds that seem overdone that the effect is somewhat marred. His soaring flourish at the end of the love duo in act two was unexpectedly spoiled in just this manner. Gladys Swarthout as Maddalena; Philine Falco as Giovanni; Alfredo Gandolfi as Monterone; Milo Picco as Marullo; Angelo Bada as Borsa; Paolo Ananian as Ceprano; Minnie Egener as the Countess, and Paolina Tomisani as the page, adequately filled the minor parts. The choruses were tasteful and sung with precision. The orchestral accompaniment conducted by Vincenzo Belleza kept its proper proportion. The incidental dances by the ballet corps added to the ensemble effect.

Not inclusive of the performance of Mme, Pons, the opera recaptured a decidedly Italian verve. The liquid delicacy of the soprano's vocal characteristics made impossible its inclusion in this generality and gave pleasurable contrast to all the rest.



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