[Met Concert/Gala] CID:117110
Gatti-Casazza Gala Performance. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/19/1935.

(Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 19, 1935

GALA PERFORMANCE

In honor of Giulio Gatti-Casazza who was completing his
twenty-seventh and last season as General Manager



Lucia di Lammermoor: Act II, Scene 2

Lucia...................Nina Morgana
Edgardo.................Giovanni Martinelli
Enrico..................Armando Borgioli
Raimondo................Ezio Pinza
Alisa...................Elda Vettori
Arturo..................Alfio Tedesco

Conductor...............Giulio Setti

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............James Fox
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert


Otello: Act IV

Otello..................Lauritz Melchior
Desdemona...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Iago....................Alfredo Gandolfi
Emilia..................Elda Vettori
Cassio..................Giordano Paltrinieri
Lodovico................Louis D'Angelo
Montano.................Millo Picco

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


Norma: Act III

Norma...................Rosa Ponselle
Adalgisa................Gladys Swarthout
Clotilde................Philine Falco

Conductor...............Ettore Panizza

Designer................Joseph Urban


Pagliacci: Prologue
Lawrence Tibbett
Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza


Manon: Act IV

Manon...................Lucrezia Bori
Des Grieux..............Richard Crooks
Lescaut.................Giuseppe De Luca
Count des Grieux........Léon Rothier
Guillot.................Angelo Badà
Poussette...............Lillian Clark
Javotte.................Philine Falco
Rosette.................Irra Petina

Conductor...............Louis Hasselmans

Director................Désiré Defrère
Designer................Joseph Urban


Die Walküre: Act III Conclusion

Brünnhilde..............Kirsten Flagstad
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Director................Wilhelm Von Wymetal, Jr.
Set designer............Hans Kautsky

This was the first of two Gala Performances this season.

Review and Account of Lawrence Gilman in the New York Herald Tribune

Twenty-seven Stars Sing From the Metropolitan Heavens in Honor of Mr. Gatti

Twenty-seven singers and five conductors, appearing in acts and scenes from six operas, joined forces last evening at the Metropolitan in a gala performance given in honor of Signor Giulio Gatti-Casazza, who will conclude at the end of this month his twenty-seventh and final season as lord of our operatic destinies.

It was a dazzling array of luminaries who sang from the Metropolitan's lyric heavens in honor of their chief. There were such stars of the first magnitude as Miss Bori and Mme. Flagstad and Miss Ponselle, Mme. Rethberg and Mr. Melchior, Mr. Tibbett and Mr. Schorr, and others of lesser rank. Not all the company were on hand. One noted such major absentees as Miss Pons and Lotte Lehmann (who was probably busy sharpening her knife for Scarpia and Thursday's matinee), and the beauteous Miss Jepson, and Mme. Branzell. And Mr. Edward Johnson. But there were enough great names to lure a capacity audience to Mr. Gatti's fane; and doubtless the financial rewards of the occasion will swell appreciably the coffers of the institution.

After a spirited curtain-raiser extracted from the immortal opus of Donizetti with Mme. Nina Morgana lending her gifts and skill and feeling and intensity as the unhappy heroine, the novelty of the evening was disclosed to us. This was a performance of the last Act of Verdi's "Otello," with Mr. Melchior embodying the Moor of Venice for the first time in New York and Mme. Rethberg playing Desdemona. It is twenty-two years since the music of "Otello" was heard at the Metropolitan. The last performance here of the great work was that given on January 31, 1913, under Mr. Toscanini, with Leo Slezak as the Moor, Alda as Desdemona, and Mr. Scotti (who took the place of Amato at the last moment) singing the first Act dressed as Barnaba in "Gioconda," while his Iago costumes were hastily assembled from out of town.

Mr. Melchior is a magnificent Otello. It is a pity that he has not sung the role before at the Metropolitan, for his performance last night brought down the house by its dignity, its passion, its restraint, its depth of feeling. Mr. Melchior as the tortured and terrible Moor captured the imagination from the moment when he loomed gigantically in Desdemona's doorway to the moment when he was filling his dying utterances with a profundity of pathos that searched the heart and spirit. One will not soon forget his singing of the "E tu…come sei pal! E stanca, e muta, e bella…" As for Mme. Rethberg's Desdemona, it was musically sung, though it is not yet quite completely seen and felt.

Following this, we were regaled with Ponselle's third-act Norma, consorted with Miss Gladys Swarthout in an admirable delivery of the duet. This done, Tonio appeared before the curtains and gave us an irresistible performance of the "Pagliacci" Prologue, costumed as Mr. Tibbett - who had apparently come straight from a Park Avenue demi-tasser for he was garbed in nothing more operatic than a tail-coat, a white waistcoat, flawlessly creased trousers, pumps, a winged collar, a white tie, a pair of gloves held jauntily in the left hand, and a keychain.

Miss Bori came next, and provided a glimpse of her Manon, gracious and high-spirited and vital as ever, companioned by Mr. Crooks, Mr. Rothier, Mr. Bada (who as Guillot provided one of the best performances of the evening) and others listed elsewhere.
Finally, we were transported from the world of Massenet and "Manon" to the world of the Scandinavian sagas and the sublimities of Wagner, and witnessed the immortal parting of Wotan and Brünnhilde on the fire-lit summit of the Valkyr's Rock, with Kirsten Flagstad and Mr. Schorr and Artur Bodanzky reminding us once again that when the half-gods go, the gods arrive.


Review of B. H. Haggin in the Brooklyn Eagle

Melchior Triumphs as Otello in Gala Performance at Metropolitan

Last night's gala performance at the Metropolitan provided me, completely unexpectedly, with one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had in a theater. The curtain had risen on the last act of Verdi's "Otello," revealing a characteristic Metropolitan set and some properties that had seen better days. There had followed a performance by Elisabeth Rethberg, the Desdemona, and Elda Vettori, the Emilia of the sort one is accustomed to - a performance in which Mme. Rethberg sang the lovely music of Desdemona for the most part with the exquisite quality that her voice still retains in its best moments, but created no dramatic illusion by her presence or her appearance) which included one of the preposterous wigs that she goes in for). I noticed a characteristic bit of bungled stage management; she was drawing the curtain of her bed with the Otello of the evening already entering. But with his appearance all thought of everything else was displaced from my mind. For not only had Lauritz Melchior achieved an amazing transformation of his appearance by his make-up and wig, but he had in some miraculous way changed his personality. The wooden first act Tristan was now a gigantic figure, arresting and dramatically compelling as it moved slowly about the stage; the absurdly gesticulating third act Tristan now exhibited genuine animation, intensity and eloquence of gesture that were breath-taking. Astounding that it should be Lauritz Melchior who should achieve this incandescence, and with it created dazzling illusion in such illusion-destroying surroundings.

The performance, a testimonial to Mr. Giulio Gatti-Casazza, had begun with Act II, Scene 2 of "Lucia" with Nina Morgana (replacing Lily Pons, who had been scheduled to appear), Elda Vettori, Giovanni Martinelli, Armando Borgioli, Ezio Pinza and Alfio Tedesco, and Giulio Setti conducting. In the act of 'Otello," there were also Alfredo Gandolfi, Louis D'Angelo, Giordano Paltrinieri and Millo Picco, with Vincenzo Bellezza conducting. Then came Act III of "Norma," with Rosa Ponselle, Gladys Swarthout, Philine Falco and Ettore Panizza; the Prologue to "Pagliacci," with Lawrence Tibbett and Mr. Bellezza; Act IV of "Manon" with Lucrezia Bori, Richard Crooks, Giuseppe De Luca, Leon Rothier, Lillian Clark, Philine Falco, Irra Petina, Angelo Bada and Louis Hasselmans, and the final scene of "Die Walküre" with Kirsten Flagstad, Friedrich Schorr and Artur Bodanzky.

The acts of "Lucia," "Norma," "Manon" and "Die Walküre" were properly included, for they were testimony to Mr. Gatti-Casazza's achievements, good and bad, and when good largely accidental (I refer to the presence of Kirsten Flagstad in "Die Walküre). But all that the act of "Otello" testified to was the absence since 1912 of one of the greatest pieces from the repertory of one of the world's leading opera companies. Similar testimony might have been provided by an act from "The Marriage of Figaro," or some other opera of Mozart, Gluck's "Iphigenie en Aulide" or "Orfeo," Moussorgsky's "Boris Godounov," and so on. And a better example of Mr. Gatti-Casazza's actual achievements would have been provided by an act of the Metropolitan "Trovatore" or "Rigoletto." It must be borne in mind that for years the company has had the necessary cast of "Otello," and that some of the singers have appeared in the opera elsewhere. I am not unjust, therefore, in attributing Mr. Gatti-Casazza's better achievements to accident.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).