[Met Concert/Gala] CID:123420
Gala Performance. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/20/1938.

(Giovanni Martinelli's 25th Anniversary

Metropolitan Opera House
March 20, 1938

In celebration of Giovanni Martinelli's twenty-fifth anniversary with the company


Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude to Act I
Erich Leinsdorf, Conductor

Lohengrin: Act II Duet
Elsa....................Kirsten Flagstad
Ortrud..................Marjorie Lawrence
Maurice Abravanel, Conductor

Lucia di Lammermoor: Sextet
Josephine Antoine
Thelma Votipka
Frederick Jagel
Carlo Tagliabue
Virgilio Lazzari
Angelo Badà
Wilfred Pelletier, Conductor

Madama Butterfly: Love Duet (In Costume)
Cio-Cio-San.............Susanne Fisher
B.F. Pinkerton..........Richard Crooks
Gennaro Papi, Conductor

Die Walküre: Wotan's Farewell
Friedrich Schorr
Erich Leinsdorf, Conductor

La Bohème: Act I Excerpts (In Costume)
Mimí....................Elisabeth Rethberg
Rodolfo.................Giovanni Martinelli
Gennaro Papi, Conductor

Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils
Ettore Panizza, Conductor

La Juive: Act IV Duet and Rachel, quand du Seigneur (In Costume)
Eleazar.................Giovanni Martinelli
Cardinal Brogni.........Léon Rothier

La Traviata: Parigi o cara
Helen Jepson
Richard Crooks

Le Nozze di Figaro: Crudel perchè finora; Se a caso Madama
Elisabeth Rethberg
Ezio Pinza

Les Contes d'Hoffmann: Barcarolle
Helen Jepson
Gladys Swarthout

Conductor...............Wilfred Pelletier

Tannhäuser: Dich teure Halle (In Costume)
Kirsten Flagstad
Maurice Abravanel, Conductor [Last appearance]

Otello: Si, pel ciel
Giovanni Martinelli
Lawrence Tibbett
Ettore Panizza, Conductor

Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March
Conductor...............Wilfred Pelletier

Director................Désiré Defrère

Review and Account by Jerome D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune


18 Principal singers and 5 Conductors Take Part in Fete; Tenor Threatens but Doesn't Make Speech

Giovanni Martinelli, who sang first at the Metropolitan Opera House on November 20, 1913, as Rodolfo in "La Bohème," played a leading role there last night in a gala program commemorating the completion of his twenty-fifth consecutive season of service in this theater. Eighteen singers, including the possessors of some of the most noted names in the Metropolitan's current roster, sang under the direction of five members of the regular conductorial staff for an audience which had bought seats some time in advance, or joined the line of those seeking standing room early enough in the afternoon.

The tenor both gave and received. He took part in three of the fourteen numbers in the program for which he and the other artists had contributed their services for the benefit of the Fund to Maintain Metropolitan Opera and, at the close, received testimonials of regard for his artistic services and personality from his colleagues and the boards of directors of the Metropolitan Opera Association and the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Mr. Martinelli's fellow artists gave him a silver tray marked with all their signatures and the following inscription: "Giovanni Martinelli - from his colleagues in commemoration of his twenty-fifth Metropolitan Opera season, March 20, 1938," The joint testimonial of the association's directors and the guild was a silver bowl, inscribed: "Giovanni Martinelli - from the board of directors of the Metropolitan Opera Association, Incorporated, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Incorporated, commemorating his twenty-fifth Season at the Metropolitan Opera House, March 20, 1938,"

The presentation ceremony followed immediately after Mr. Martinelli and Mr. Tibbett had taken their final bows in the excerpt from "Otello." The orchestra began "Pomp and Circumstance," and the curtains parted to disclose Edward Johnson, general manager; Paul D. Cravath, chairman of the Metropolitan's directorate, and most of the singers of the company who were in town. Mr. Johnson read the following congratulatory letter sent to Mr. Martinelli by President Roosevelt:

"Dear Mr. Martinelli:
May I join with your other friends in congratulating you upon the completion of twenty-five years with the Metropolitan Opera Company. Yours has been a happy mission in life, and I trust that for long years to come the music loving public may continue to be entertained and uplifted by the power of your voice.

Mr. Cravath, presenting the silver bowl, congratulated Mr. Martinelli on an art in which he combined the vigor and enthusiasm of youth with the maturity of twenty-five years' experience. Lucrezia Bori who had sung Mimi to Mr. Martinelli's Rodolfo in his Metropolitan debut, made the presentation of the tray on behalf of his colleagues. Mrs. Herbert Witherspoon, secretary of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, read a message from Mrs. August Belmont, chairman of the guild, who was out of town. "Time stands still," wrote Mrs. Belmont, "Martinelli marches on."

Mr. Martinelli spoke briefly in thanks. He had addressed the audience in a pleasantly whimsical vein a little earlier in the evening, before the "Otello" duet, when he appeared before the curtain with a stool and a large manuscript, saying that he was expected to make a speech, but could not find any place in which to make it. It was very difficult, he observed, to make a speech- "Sing it! suggested some one from the right of the orchestra circle - and, as in "Andrea Chenier" when, throughout the opera, he was thinking of a particularly exacting final top note, he had been thinking of the speech throughout this evening. The speech, he alleged, had been written for him by Assistant General Manager Earle R. Lewis, and was fifty-three pages long. Fifty-three, he added, was a lucky number for him, as it was his age - he would be seventy-eight years old twenty-five years hence.

While he did not go on to read the purported fifty-three pages, Mr. Martinelli had a vocally busy evening, with extracts representing his first Metropolitan role, Rodolfo in "La Bohème," his most recent Metropolitan role in "Otello," and Eleazar in "La Juive," which came about midway between the two in his quarter-century here, in 1924-25. The program, in which the only change from the printed list was the nonappearance of Artur Bodanzky due to indisposition, in the [first] number, taken over by Mr. Leinsdorf, was of generous extent, including in several cases considerably more of a given opera than the printed designations indicated.

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