[Met Performance] CID:121380
La Traviata {218} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/6/1937.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 6, 1937


LA TRAVIATA {218}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Bid˙ Sayao
Alfredo.................Frederick Jagel
Germont.................Lawrence Tibbett
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Angelo BadÓ
Baron Douphol...........Wilfred Engelman
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Norman Cordon
Annina..................Lucielle Browning
Dance...................Ruthanna Boris
Dance...................Monna Montes
Dance...................William Dollar
Dance...................Josef Levinoff
Dance...................Eugene Loring

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

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

Bidu Sayao Makes Boston Debut in "La Traviata"

A chronicle of last night's performance of "La Traviata" by the Metropolitan must begin with the Boston debut of Bidu Sayao as Violetta, and continue with proclamation of the extremely important part played by the conductor, Ettore Panizza.

Mme. Sayao, as has been duly made known, is a Brazilian soprano who joined the Metropolitan just this year and who has made a success in New York. Her first appearance in Boston was auspiciously accomplished in a praiseworthy portrayal of that unfortunate lady of the camellias. Though Mme. Sayao's voice is small, it is pure and of agreeable quality, produced well and of that general description known as "lyric." So far as style and vocal accuracy are concerned Mme. Sayao is beautifully equipped, though passing slips from pitch were observable.

As an actress, moreover, Mme. Sayao excels with the role of Violetta, a heroine of uncertain fortune on the opera stage since a good number of Violettas in the past have been unable to reconcile illness with avoirdupois. But no such disturbing thought was possible last evening, since this diva offers pleasure both to eyes and ears.

Mme. Sayao is really at her considerable best in genuinely lyrical music; the leggiero of "Ah, fors e lui" and "Sempre libera," though adequate, was not distinguished. Her "Addio del passato" and her share in "Parigi, o cara" were, on the other hand, exquisite. Mme. Sayao is doubtless a valuable addition to the Metropolitan's lyric sopranos.

Mr. Panizza proved the dominating genius, joining orchestra and singers in a most sensitive and eloquent performance. How subtle an orchestral score Verdi wrote - without the limits of the mid-19th century Italian style - can be perceived only under such circumstances. The preludes to the first and fourth acts could not have been better phrased or more clear of texture. His tempi were irreproachable. Those recurring melancholy phrases for oboe and clarinet, so marvelously expressive - and usually so often neglected by lesser conductors - were given refreshing emphasis.

Lawrence Tibbett achieved a personal triumph as the elder Germont, singing beautifully throughout. Here is an impersonation of Alfredo's father that other baritones would do well to study. Yet why does Mr. Tibbett make him rude to the point of violence upon his first meeting with Violetta? A man who could sing "Di provenza" to his son could not be harsh with Violetta.

Frederick Jagel sang Alfredo in place of Richard Crooks, who is ill. Mr. Jagel is ill-suited to this distinctively lyrical part, which requires voice and style more light and flexible than he possesses. He was at his best in the drama of the third and fourth acts.

The cycle of Wagner's "Ring" continues tonight with "Siegfried." The performance will begin at 7:30, half an hour earlier than usual.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).