[Met Performance] CID:123370
Don Giovanni {97} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/17/1938.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 17, 1938


DON GIOVANNI {97}

Don Giovanni............John Brownlee
Donna Anna..............Rose Bampton
Don Ottavio.............Richard Crooks
Donna Elvira............Irene Jessner
Leporello...............Virgilio Lazzari
Zerlina.................Marita Farell
Masetto.................Louis D'Angelo
Commendatore............Norman Cordon

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

Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

Brownlee and Rose Bampton in Final 'Don Giovanni'

The Metropolitan's second new "Don" in thirty years made his entry in company with a first-time Donna Anna at the season's fourth and final performance of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" on the evening of March 17. John Brownlee succeeded to the part which had been sung by Ezio Pinza in every performance since the work was restored to the repertoire in 1929-30 after a lapse of more than two decades. Rose Bampton made her one appearance of the season as the vengeful daughter of the Commendatore, which she had not sung previously anywhere. Others concerned were Richard Crooks as Don Ottavio, Irene Jessner as Elvira, Marita Farell as Zerlina, Louis D'Angelo as Masetto and Norman Cordon as the Commendatore, all of whom had appeared in these roles at earlier performances. Ettore Panizza conducted.

Mr. Brownlee dressed, played and sang the role with a praiseworthy regard for the traditions. The Don was bearded again after a period of making his conquests smooth-shaven. He was gallant personage if not one of commanding height. By one of those curious reversals of operatic casting which provoke the mere onlooker to wondering why things must be as they are, he had a very tall Donna Anna, whereas Pinza, with inches to spare, has drawn, in the current revival, a rather diminutive ones. The Australian baritone treated his secco recitative with style and zest. Moreover, he restored the missing appogiaturas to the mandolin serenade. His rapid-fire delivery of the so-called champagne air was a capital bit of singing of its kind, though elsewhere one could have wished for a more seductive quality of tone.

Miss Bampton met creditably the exactions of her very difficult role, showing clear understanding of what both the music and the action require. If hers was not the voice of steel for "Or sai the 'onore," it had the caress for "Non mi dir," which she sang with gratifying poise and a good legato style.



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