[Met Performance] CID:121520
Il Trovatore {196} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 04/17/1937.


Cleveland, Ohio
April 17, 1937

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Arthur Carron
Leonora.................Elisabeth Rethberg
Count Di Luna...........Carlo Morelli
Azucena.................Bruna Castagna
Ferrando................Chase Baromeo
Ines....................Thelma Votipka
Ruiz....................Giordano Paltrinieri [Last performance]

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

Review of Herbert Elwell in the Cleveland Plain Dealer


"Il Trovatore" Presented in Grand Manner

Following the matinee performance of "Carmen" in which Rosa Ponselle carried the principal honors the Cleveland's Metropolitan Opera festival came to a triumphant close last night with a brilliant production of Verdi's "Il Trovatore," and great was the enthusiasm of the audience which filled Public Hall at both performances.

A memorable week has been recorded in the annals of operatic history. Record-breaking crowds have proved that opera is an art still destined to flourish as one of the highest forms of popular entertainment. And Cleveland, by its spontaneous response, has again shown its hospitable appreciation of an organization which stands for the best in the operatic field.

Final and parting evidence of the Metropolitan's adherence to a lofty operatic tradition came with the presentation of the famous Verdi work last night, and, like the many other productions of this exciting week, it compelled admiration not only by the superior accomplishments of individual singers, but also by that subtle and quietly working craftsmanship that harmonious fusion of many directing minds which achieved smoothly flowing sequences, expertly subordinated detail, faithfulness in style and that completeness of illusion which frees the listener from any conspicuousness of the intricate mechanics necessary to make opera the fascinating spectacle it is.

Exhilarating to Witness

Not only was "Il Trovatore" mounted with all the sumptuousness suitable to the grand manner, but it unfolded with swift ease that made its succession of eight scenes exhilarating to witness. There is sagacity in this episodic manner of constructing a representation whose natural movement is inevitably slowed down by the leisurely tempo of music, and which therefore must depend largely upon pictures and moods of sustaining its interest. The reduction of recitatives to a minimum and the brisk sequence of tuneful high-spirited solos and ensembles so effectively rendered in this performance emphasizes once again that Verdi knew what he was about in not attempting extended musical developments and in frankly recognizing that inherent artificiality which is half of opera's charm.

And in this libretto, which starts off with a duel, stages a battle after an attempted abduction before a convent and ends with an execution, the composer had all the elements necessary for the release of these violent passions that poignancy of feeling and rapturous vehemence of which only music can be the adequate mouthpiece. He utilizes every dramatic opportunity to the full, and regardless of its obviousness, its blatancy and frequent lack of quality, the piece stands solidly as a monument of operatic genius.

Rethberg Scores Again

The singers principally responsible for imbuing it with the fervor and zest it demands were Elizabeth Rethberg as Leonora, Bruna Castagna as Azucena, Arthur Carron as Manrico, Carlo Morelli as the Count de Luna, Chase Baromeo as Ferrando, Thelma Votipka as Inez and Giordano Paltrinieri as Ruiz.

Rethberg scored heavily again with singing that was not only dramatically strong but pleasingly dexterous and deft in the coloratura passages which embellish her role and make it one of the most difficult. Castagna, one of the most naturally gifted artists of the company, could not have been better cast as the vindictive gypsy, for she played this part masterfully, giving it great intensity and fine dramatic emphasis with a voice rich in expressive color. Her scenes with Carron in the second act won especial favor and brought both singers before the curtain many times.

Carron's tenor, heard for the first time during this season, has commendable warmth and power that make his a welcome addition to the company. His soft tones are somewhat lacking in quality, but he had a thorough command of his part. Both Baromeo and Morelli held forth with supreme competence, and both were in excellent voice. And the minor parts were taken care of. Worthy of special mention also were the male choruses. No small portion of the credit for the successful performance goes to Conductor Gennaro Papi.

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