[Met Performance] CID:119450
Rigoletto {215} Metropolitan Opera House: 05/16/1936.

(Debut: Nicholas Massue
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
May 16, 1936


RIGOLETTO {215}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Carlo Morelli
Gilda...................Emily Hardy
Duke of Mantua..........Nicholas Massue [Debut]
Maddalena...............Ina Bourskaya
Sparafucile.............John Gurney
Monterone...............Norman Cordon
Borsa...................Lodovico Oliviero
Marullo.................George Cehanovsky
Count Ceprano...........Wilfred Engelman
Countess Ceprano........Charlotte Symons
Giovanna................Charlotte Symons
Page....................Jarna Paull

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the New York Herald Tribune

'Rigoletto' Ends Week of New Opera Season

Joseph Royer and Nicholas Massue, Both Canadians, in Metropolitan Debuts

The first week of the popular-priced spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House closed yesterday with repetition of Bizet's "Carmen" and Verdi's "Rigoletto," in which two French-Canadian singers, Joseph Royer, baritone, and Nicholas Massue, tenor, made their first Metropolitan appearances. Mr. Royer, who, while new to the Metropolitan, had had a number of hearings in opera here on other stages, sang Escamillo in the matinee, with Bruna Castagna again as Carmen and Armand Tokatyan as Don Josť. Norman Cordon sang Zuniga instead of Louis D'Angelo; otherwise the cast including Mmes. Bodanskaya, Symonds and Oelheim and Messrs. Cehanovsky, Oliviero and Engleman, was the same as on Monday night. Ruthanne Boris and Joseph Levinoff were the soloists with the American Ballet.

It was a busy day for Mr. Royer, an experienced and versatile artist, as he had to go to Carnegie Hall in the evening to sing Sender in the final performance of Rocca's "The Dybbuk."

Mr. Massue, who was born at Varennes, a suburb of Montreal, and acquired his musical training and most of his operatic training thus far in Italy, made his New York debut in the evening's "Rigoletto" as the Duke of Mantua, while Carlo Morelli again sang the title role, with Emily Hardy as Gilda. Gennaro Papi conducted both operas.

A Duke of prepossessing appearance, Mr. Massue exhibited a voice of good volume and promising quality, usually fluent and clear-toned at its best, but not invariably free from occasional slight throatiness. The top notes proved highly effective, with a vigor and a timbre reminding one hearer, to some extent, of those of Mr. Lauri-Volpi. Between these and mezza-voce singing, the transition seemed sometimes rather abrupt. Dramatically, his work showed intelligence and understanding.

Emily Hardy's second performance as Gilda showed some improvement over her first, but there was still some variability in the quality of a tone which is very pleasing at its best. Anna Kaskas arrived at the opera house only to find herself unable to sing Maddalena, owing to a sudden hoarseness, and Ina Bourskaya sang the role in her stead. Mr. Morelli was in good voice as Rigoletto. John Gurney was the Sparafucile. Despite the presence of thirty visitors who had come from Montreal to hear Mr. Massue, there were a number of untenanted seats in the orchestra, while the cheaper seats were well filled. "Carmen" drew well for a spring matinee.



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