[Met Performance] CID:115110
Rigoletto {200} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/14/1934.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 14, 1934


RIGOLETTO {200}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Giuseppe De Luca
Gilda...................Lily Pons
Duke of Mantua..........Charles Hackett
Maddalena...............Ina Bourskaya
Sparafucile.............Virgilio Lazzari
Monterone...............Alfredo Gandolfi
Borsa...................Giordano Paltrinieri
Marullo.................Millo Picco
Count Ceprano...........Paolo Ananian
Countess Ceprano........Elda Vettori
Giovanna................Philine Falco
Page....................Paolina Tomisani

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

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun


Once upon a time "Rigoletto" was a prima donna opera, but audiences even in those days deemed it to be a duty to art to hear and cheer the celebrated quartet. Then came what the movies used to call the dawn of a new day. Caruso made his debut here in 1903 and "Rigoletto" became a tenor opera- because people thought the zenith of its glory had been reached when he sang "La donna e mobile." Mr. Carlyle exclaimed "What changes are wrought, not by time, but in time." Today "Rigoletto" is a baritone opera and the reason for that is a well-seasoned singer named Giuseppe de Luca.

The Sun's recorder went to the Metropolitan last night to hear Charles Hackett, American tenor, sing the Duke. But he found himself once again enchained by the art of Mr. de Luca. His is not a young voice, but with it he works his wonders. He knows how to obey the ancient command "Filar i tuono"-"spin the tone." He knows how to recreate the style of the epoch in which operas of this type had their birth. And he keeps himself always in the character. Mr. Hackett was an admirable duke. He sang the music with elegance and facility and presented a gallant figure. It was not his fault that the name part was more prominent than his. In the first place the composer made it so and in the second place the role of the jester is one of Mr. de Luca's best.

Miss Pons was the Gilda. About eighty years ago Chorley the thunderer of London music criticism, asserted that Verdi could not make much of his heroines. He declared that Gilda's now famous air, "Caro nome," was nothing but a lackadaisical yawn and that her share of the quartet consisted of a series of sobs. As Miss Pons sings "Caro nome" it is neither lackadaisical nor a yawn. She sang it very well last night. In fact, she sang the whole role well, better than she was singing last season. Her tones were generally of better quality, steadier and more "on the breath." But she errs in soaring to the top of her scale so often. She does not always arrive with certainty. And, at any rate, the ascending arpeggio to the high "E" at the exit after "Caro nome" is by no means so effective vocally as the older termination on the sustained trill. It I still less effective when the "E" is a shade under the pitch.

For the rest, last night's performance called into service Mme. Bourskaya as Maddalena and Virgillio Lazzari as Sparafucile. Mr. Gandolfi launched the curse of Monterone and Mr. Belezza conducted. The audience was a Rigoletto assembly, large and strong-handed.



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