[Met Performance] CID:124140
Il Trovatore {204} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/2/1938.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 2, 1938


IL TROVATORE {204}
Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Jussi Björling
Leonora.................Zinka Milanov
Count Di Luna...........Carlo Tagliabue
Azucena.................Bruna Castagna
Ferrando................John Gurney
Ines....................Thelma Votipka
Ruiz....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Gypsy...................Carlo Coscia

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Mario Sala
Set designer............James Fox

Il Trovatore received three performances this season.

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

"Il Trovatore"

Last night, on the same stage [as the matinee "Tristan"], the product of a genius of a quite different kind, the "Trovatore" of Verdi, was heard for the first time this season. The part of the troubadour Manrico, was assumed for the first time here by Jussi Bjoerling and the less weighty part of Ferrando was sung for the first time by John Gurney. The cast was otherwise a familiar one, with Zinka Milanov as Leonora, Bruna Castagna as Azucena, Thema Votipka as Inez and Messrs. Paltrinieri and Coscia in the remaining parts.

The young Swedish tenor has not yet the heroic vocal attributes essential to a wholly felicitous conveyance of Manrico's taxing music. His delivery of "Di quella pira" was a commendable effort, not without an element of excitement, but while the culminating top tone was true to the pitch, it was not achieved without excessive effort. He was happier in the more lyric "Ah, si ben mio," earlier in the same scene. For the present Mr. Bjoerling would do better to adhere to such parts as Rodolfo in "Bohème" in which he made his debut; forcing his voice for dramatic roles will only result in divesting it of its native agreeable timbre. There is little use in discussing his acting, for it is practically nonexistent. Nothing more static could be imagined than his attempts as histrionism.

The most effective impersonation from all angles was that of Mlle. Castagna as the impassioned gypsy. She has, perhaps, delivered her music with more sustained tonal beauty, but never with greater intensity. Mme. Milanov's singing of Leonora's music remains undistinguished and her acting tarries on the same level as her vocalism. Mr. Tagliabue, although he strayed more than a respectable distance from the key in his aria, "Il Balen," sang the remainder of his music sonorously, if not with the utmost finish. Mr. Gurney acquitted himself creditably as Ferrando. Mr. Papi conducted an orchestra patently tired out by its long afternoon session with Wagner. A large, clamorous audience attended.



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