[Met Performance] CID:121560
Il Trovatore {197} Metropolitan Opera House: 05/7/1937.


Metropolitan Opera House
May 7, 1937

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Arthur Carron
Leonora.................Rose Bampton
Count Di Luna...........Carlo Morelli
Azucena.................Bruna Castagna
Ferrando................John Gurney
Ines....................Thelma Votipka
Ruiz....................Lodovico Oliviero
Gypsy...................Carlo Coscia

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

Review of Noel Straus in The New York Times


She Sings the Part of Leonora, Her First Venture Here as an Operatic Soprano


She Carries the Part of Azucena, and Others Supporting Include Carron and Morelli

After more than eighty years of service on the operatic stage of this city, Verdi's "II Trovatore" was able to acquire a certain amount of new interest for those who heard the performance of it last night at the Metropolitan. For Rose Bampton, whose activities at the Opera House had been confined previously to contralto and mezzo rôles exclusively, made her first appearance in a soprano role as the Leonora of the cast. There was naturally a goodly amount of curiosity aroused by this entrance of the talented singer into the ranks of the loftier-voiced purveyors of dramatic song, and by and large she can be said to have issued victoriously in her bout with the exacting music allotted her as the noble lady of the court of the Princess of Aragon.

Brighter Upper Tones

There was no radical difference in the singing put forth by Miss Bampton in her new field of vocal endeavor from that heard from her in her former lower rôles, except that in the gradual change from a mezzo to a full-fledged soprano the tones had become brighter and firmer in the upper half of the voice and had lost something in weightiness below. The higher tessitura of Leonora's music in comparison to that of the parts she had sung here in the past caused no difficulty whatever for this carefully schooled artist. She moved with ease and accuracy not only in broader and more eloquent passages, but also in coloratura pyrotechnics. The mezza voce effects in "Tacea la notte" were adroitly accomplished, and if the "Di tale amor" cabaletta of this aria lacked brilliance and verve, it was charmingly negotiated, with that feeling for line and nuance which invariably informs all of Miss Bampton's efforts.

In the quintet finale of the second act, that triumph of the ochetto as the Italians call the short detached figures of which Verdi was so fond, Miss Bampton handled the broken melody with the skill of a veteran soprano. Her tones rang, clear and clean and with ample volume except in certain low phrases, which were lost in the heavy ensemble at this point in the proceedings,

Forcefulness in Interpretation

Since Miss Bampton made her debut at the Metropolitan five years ago her sense of the dramatic has steadily grown and last night she acted and sang with a sure, if not overwhelming, amount of forcefulness in an interpretation which augurs well for her future as an operatic soprano. As yet, Miss Bampton did not seem quite secure in the extreme top notes of her part. She avoided the high D-flat in the cadenza of the [first] aria and merely touched the same tone lightly in its occurrence at the end of the quintet. But in time she will probably acquire positive command of the altitudinous tones as she has of the rest of her already lengthy scale.

Some of the finest singing of the evening was that set forth by Bruna Castagna, as Azucena. Miss Castagna was in excellent vocal form and brought all the necessary fire and emotional contrasts to an impersonation which she has never excelled here. She made Azucena, as was Verdi's undoubted intention, the principal character of the opera and did so with conviction and authority.

The rest of the cast, with the exception of Miss Votipka's Inez, labored valiantly but not to any great purpose. Arthur Carron, the Manrico, and Carlo Morelli, the Di Luna, made an unusually strident pair of brothers, both pushing tones unmercifully throughout. John Gurney made little of his opportunities as Ferrando. The chorus went in for refinements of pianissimo singing that were too often inaudible, but were better when offering full-throated melody. The orchestra, under Gennaro Papi, sounded coarse for the most part, and was not always at bar lines simultaneously with at least one of the singers,

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