[Met Performance] CID:112090
La Gioconda {127} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/28/1932.


Metropolitan Opera House
November 28, 1932


La Gioconda.............Rosa Ponselle
Enzo....................Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Laura...................Rose Bampton
Barnaba.................Armando Borgioli
Alvise..................Tancredi Pasero
La Cieca................Faina Petrova
Zune...................Alfredo Gandolfi
Ispo...................Giordano Paltrinieri
Monk....................Louis D'Angelo
Steersman...............Arnold Gabor
Singer..................Alfredo Gandolfi
Singer..................Giordano Paltrinieri

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

Review of Hubbard Hutchinson in the New York Times:

A certain poet of antiquity once remarked to achieve success while young was the brightest gift of the gods. Miss Rose Bampton, who last night reached, upon her twenty-third birthday, that Mecca of the American operatic stage of the Metropolitan, may well feel that the deities presiding over these things have watched her lovingly. Their attendance, one hastens to add, was well merited, Miss Bampton brought to her first act appearance at the Metropolitan as Laura in "La Gioconda" most of the qualities desirable for operatic work-a charming unaffected presence admirably sustained throughout the nerve-racking ordeal of a debut; the uncommon contralto virtues of slender good looks and a voice of operatic dimensions and beauty. To those who know her in recital (wherein she usually confined herself to strictly contralto registers), the extent of her upper range, and the brilliance it often displayed notably in the duets with Enzo and Gioconda, came as a surprise.

Miss Bampton's big flexible voice, however, is truly contralto in quality, carrying throughout its wide range the contralto's depth, its round and velvety richness. If these qualities were not always as fully displayed last night as they were last Spring in a performance of Schnberg's difficult "Gurrelieder" which she made so memorable-if the middle register was occasionally more reedy and less opulent than that which she can command, the fact may be put down to the nervousness naturally attending a debut. She received an enthusiastic welcome from the audience at the close of the second act and was wanted again after the dramatically effective scene with Alvise (Tancredi Pasero) in Act 3.

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

The Metropolitan Opera Association began the second week of its season last night with Ponchielli's "La Gioconda," and Rose Bampton celebrated her twenty-third birthday by making her first operatic appearance at the Metropolitan in the role of Laura. The young mezzo-soprano from Buffalo, in appearance and in song, made a highly favorable impression upon the large audience and was warmly applauded in half a dozen curtain calls after the second act in which Laura has her first opportunity for extensive song.

Was Heard in Philadelphia

Miss Bampton, who had sung the same role when the Metropolitan paid its first visit of the season to Philadelphia last week, is already known here as a concert singer, having been a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in its performance of Schonberg's "Gurrelieder" at the Metropolitan last April, and with the Oratorio Society in Bach's B minor mass on May 3. In both these performances, she had exhibited a voice of unusually promising quality and her singing last night bore out this impression. The vocal range was generous, the quality usually warm, smooth and even, marked by a certain opulent duskiness of hue in the middle and lower notes. Her top notes proved full and resonant, although there were a few occasions of slight forcing of the tone in attaining these in a generally well-phrased, musicianly performance.

Although the young singer is no novice in opera, having sung with the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company and Chautauqua Opera Association, her acting of her role last night was rather tentative; orthodox, but not altogether convincing. But with an appearance ingratiating to the eye as well as a voice of unusual caliber, Miss Bampton should prove a very valuable acquisition to the Metropolitan.

Rosa Ponselle in Title Role

Apart from the debut, "La Gioconda" pursued a familiar course, with Rosa Ponselle as a blond-wigged heroine; Giacomo Lauri-Volpi as Enzo, Armando Borgioli as Barnaba, Faina Petrova as La Cieca and Tancredi Pasero as Alvise. In its sixth decade, Ponchielli's only opera surviving in active service seems no younger than its years, the music does not acquire distinction by repeated hearings. But, with its copious, undeniably tuneful, if often banal melodies, and with its relished arias such "Cielo e mar," it is likely that "La Gioconda" will serve as a standard item in the operatic list for some time o come.

Miss Ponselle, giving a duly emotional representation of the title role, was in generally good voice. Mr. Lauri-Volpi furnished some good singing and sometimes forced his high notes. Borgioli gave Barnaba a performance of routine effectiveness and not the smoothest of tones, while Faina Petrova's impersonation of the blind Mother merited praise. Messrs. Gandolfi, Paitrinieri, D'Angelo and Gabor sang other roles, and Mr. Serafin conducted

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