[Met Performance] CID:120670
Il Trovatore {194} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/11/1937.


Metropolitan Opera House
February 11, 1937

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Giovanni Martinelli
Leonora.................Gina Cigna
Count Di Luna...........Carlo Morelli
Azucena.................Bruna Castagna
Ferrando................Virgilio Lazzari
Ines....................Thelma Votipka
Ruiz....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Gypsy...................Arnold Gabor

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

Review of Noel Straus in The New York Times


Audience Gathers for Second Performance to Hear Gina Cigna as Leonora


Tenor Receives Ovation for His Rendering of Manrico's Two Arias in Third Act

Verdi's "Il Trovatore" was performed for the second time this season at the Metropolitan last
night. The house was sold out, a fact attesting both to the enduring popularity of the work and to the interest aroused by Gina Cigna, the Leonora of the cast, as a result of the favorable impression she had made at her debut last Saturday afternoon as Aida.

Miss Cigna followed the established conventions of her rôle so far as her acting was concerned, and gave an acceptable, but in no way exceptional account of herself vocally. She specialized in brilliant top notes and often, as in the final quintet of the second act, with fine effect. But there was little body to her tones in the lower half of the voice, so that she failed to make many of the passages written for that part of the organ dominant enough in heavy ensemble.

There was considerable curiosity among her hearers as to how Miss Cigna would fare in the coloratura aspects of her music, a type of vocalism in which she had had no opportunity to exhibit her prowess so far. As in her work elsewhere during the evening her endeavors in this realm found her singing agreeable, if not highly distinguished. In the "Tacea la notte" her tones were expressive, but without that lusciousness and rich texture awaited from a dramatic soprano in this sort of florid work.

For some reason, the cadenza leading to the allegro section of this aria was altered so as to avoid the high D-flat, and the less lofty note which replaced it was forced and out of focus, being the exception among her tones in the upper register in that respect.

Perhaps Miss Cigna was not in her best vocal estate, and it will remain for "Norma" in which she is to be heard shortly, to prove her full ability to handle ornamental music of the kind. Her singing was musicianly and that of the well-routined artist, and at its best in moments of dramatic tension.

Giovanni Martinelli was again in his best vocal estate as Manrico. He received an ovation for his rendition of his two arias in the third act and deserved one for the superior treatment of the 'Mal reggendo" pages at the start of the final duet with Azucena in the second act. The tenor avoided forced sounds and there was a surprisingly youthful freshness throughout his scale at all times.

The rest of the cast remained as at the first presentation of the opera this Winter. Thelma Votipka sang as well as before as Inez. But Bruna Castagna's impersonation of Azucena, although vital and impassioned, was not up to her previous standard in the part, for her voice seemed a bit fatigued and not fully supported in its upper reaches.

Carlo Morelli's Count di Luna was not up to his former envisagement of the role, his bout with "Il balen" proving a sorry one in matters of style and monotonously delivered. Virgilio Lazzari gave his usual effective interpretation of Ferrando. At the conductor's desk Gennaro Papi was not always successful in keeping his forces together, and on a number of occasions the voices and the orchestra did not reach the bar lines simultaneously.

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun

Gina Cigna Sings In 'Il Trovatore'

The melodramatics of Verdi's "Il Trovatore" occupied the stage of the Metropolitan Opera house last night, and the comparative rarity of an Italian opera brought an enormous audience to the theater. A contributing factor, no doubt, was the second appearance of Gina Cigna, a recent newcomer to the company, who was heard as Leonora, in an otherwise familiar cast.

Though Miss Cigna's impersonation of the noble lady was more restrained than intense, it was effectively sung, with generally excellent vocal quality and a solid command of the role's difficulties. The animation of "Di tale amor" might have been more glowingly conveyed but Mme. Cigna met the climaxes of her part capably, with ample power in reserve to dominate the finale of the first act (with a firmly produced D-flat) and the ensemble of the convent scene. A good appearance in the part and no excess of histrionics also were virtues of her performance.

Sharing the evening's honors with here was the vigorously dramatic Azucena of Bruna Castagna. As well as disposing of her traditional showpiece with appropriate gusto Mme. Castagna maintained a commanding position in the drama whenever she was on the stage, and gave particular vocal splendor to her "Allen tate, O barbari." Giovanni Martinelli repeated his familiar Manrico, and Carlo Morelli was a resonant, if otherwise unexceptional Count di Luna. Thelma Votipka (Inez) and Virgilio Lazzari (Ferrando) were heard in the smaller roles, and Gennaro Papi conducted. Mme. Cigna was the particular focus of the audience's considerable applause, though the others were also heartily approved.

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