[Met Performance] CID:122610
Il Trovatore {203} Newark, New Jersey: 01/18/1938.


Newark, New Jersey
January 18, 1938

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Giovanni Martinelli
Leonora.................Elisabeth Rethberg
Count Di Luna...........Carlo Tagliabue
Azucena.................Bruna Castagna
Ferrando................Virgilio Lazzari
Ines....................Thelma Votipka
Ruiz....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Gypsy...................Carlo Coscia

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

Unsigned review in the Newark Evening News

"Il Trovatore"

Capacity Audience at Mosque Applauds Bamberger Sponsored Performance by "Met"

If there were any music lovers who thought the selection of "Il Trovatore" as the only Metropolitan Opera offering for Newark this season was not the happiest choice, they were confounded last night. The audience packed the Mosque and applauded warmly that good old standby of the lyric stage. Given with the vocal power, scenic charm and ease of presentation that only the Met's forces seem to command in this section of the country, the Verdi favorite was a great success.

Probably there wasn't a person present who hadn't been hearing throughout his or her life "Il Trovatore." Considering the familiarity of practically every bar of the piece, it is a credit to the company that so illusive and persuasive a performance was given. It came near being Metropolitan's tops in town under sponsorship of L. Bamberger & Co.

One didn't have to progress beyond the first act to realize that the order of the evening was opera in the old tradition. Rethberg, Martinelli and Tagliabue may not be an ideal romantic trio.

Tonal Emphasis

But one soon was swept by the emphasis being on the tonal side of the performance, which is as it should be. The audience was thankful for the gifts offered. "Il Trovatore" is such an opera as affords each and every one of its main characters all the opportunity his heart could desire. And almost every link in it dramatic chain is stirring, refreshingly melodic, no matter how myriad are the times you've heard it. Even more stirring and melodic when done by experts such as last night.

Exclamations rose throughout the house at the loveliness of Mme. Rethberg's voicing of the "What Voices of Terror" section of the "Miserere" and other parts of the third act contributed by the soprano. So pliable and clear was her voice, so sympathetic in quality and successful in the quavers and other technical feats in the score that her work was a delight throughout the evening.

The hit of the evening, however, was scored by Bruna Castagna. Hers is the more vigorous role by far and she seemed to put spirit into her performance that her associates in general lacked. Music lovers here are familiar with her appealing contralto. It was warmer and more full-throated than it ever has been in a performance in Newark, and was used in her fist aria, "Fierce Flames Are Soaring," in a manner that roused the audience. Again she impressed in the "Home to Our Mountains" excerpt, also acting this fevered scene admirably.

Excellent Voice

Mr. Martinelli as the tragic score unfolded rose to the occasion. His performance began to pick up with the "Tremble, Ye Tyrants" air, just prior to his fruitless effort to rescue his supposed mother, the gypsy Azucena, from the enemy. He was in excellent voice, his tones ringing out with the fine clarity and the smoothness of texture characterizing them, if not notable enthusiasm. He did much for the effectiveness of the closing castle dungeon scene.

Mr. Tagliabue's was a new voice to local music lovers. An Italian barytone, recently imported by the Met, he revealed an agreeable voice, well-controlled, and won a good share of applause for his singing of the well-known "Tempest of the Heart" melody and other of the famous Verdi tunes falling to his share. He was hardly militant enough, however, to play the Count. Mr. Lazzari made an excellent Ferrando and started the opera on its way with a lusty, expressive rendition of the captain's discourse to the soldiers.

Leading what appeared to be the full Metropolitan orchestra, Gennaro Papi carried the performance along on the most even of keels, never rushing the tempo, but maintaining a live pace and bringing the opera to a close at a welcome hour. An ample quota of choristers peopled the stage and gave gratifying accounts of themselves in the "Anvil Chorus" and other lively ensembles.

In its pageantry the production was more than adequate.

The proceeds of the performance will be devoted by L. Bamberger & Co. to aid the Hospital and Home for Crippled Children.

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