[Met Performance] CID:124160
Rigoletto {227} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/3/1938.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 3, 1938


RIGOLETTO {227}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Carlo Tagliabue
Gilda...................Marisa Morel
Duke of Mantua..........Frederick Jagel
Maddalena...............Irra Petina
Sparafucile.............Nicola Moscona
Monterone...............Louis D'Angelo
Borsa...................Giordano Paltrinieri
Marullo.................George Cehanovsky
Count Ceprano...........Wilfred Engelman
Countess Ceprano........Pearl Besuner
Giovanna................Thelma Votipka
Page....................Lucielle Browning

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Vittorio Rota
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert
Choreographer...........Boris Romanoff

Rigoletto received four performances this season.

Review of Noel Strauss in The New York Times

THE OPERA

"Rigoletto," With Marisa Morel as a New Gilda, and Jagel as the Duke, Heard


The performance of Verdi's "Rigoletto," given at the Metropolitan last night, while it scaled no heights, was of interest because there was a new Gilda in the cast. The exacting role was assumed by Marisa Morel, who heretofore had not essayed a coloratura part on these boards. Otherwise the personnel was a familiar one.

Miss Morel had been heard here earlier in the season as Musetta in "La Bohème" and as Amore in "Orfeo ed Eurodice," both of which portrayals belonged to categories too far removed from that of the heroine in Verdi's "Rigoletto" to give any hint as to what her abilities would prove to be in a work of so different a type. Her venture with the Verdian music left no room for doubt that her talents are displayed to better purpose in less exacting realms of song.

If the artist seemed in her real element as the animated soubrette in the Puccini work, she was patently voyaging on strange waters as the sheltered, demure maiden of last night's opera. For the most part Miss Morel sang with tones far too tenuous and unsupported to give many of the measures allotted to her their needed
brilliance and proper effect. In the "Caro nome," which was accurately intoned and agilely sung, the florid passages were filed down to mere threads of sound.

With this sort of approach the true character of the aria failed to be revealed, the more so since Miss Morel did not attempt the elaborate sort of cadenza with altitudinous top-notes usually heard at the close of the number, or the high E added by most sopranos after the sustained trill of the music as she enters the house thereafter.

Miss Morel's vocal production varied from time to time, and occasionally she emitted phrases that had ample volume as at the end of the "Addio" duet in the second act. But she did not find it possible to sustain this sort of tone consistently, nor imbue her vocal work or acting with the requisite dramatic fervor. There were moments, nevertheless, when the voice arrived at impressiveness when softly used in the medium register and always the interpretation possessed grace and refinement.

The others of the personnel did their best in a presentation that rarely rose above a routine level. Frederick Jagel, though not in his best vocal estate, accomplished some polished singing as the Duke and Carlo Tagliabue gave his usual impressive, if uneven, accounting of the name part. Irra Petina, as Maddalena, Thelma Votipka as Giovanna, Louis D'Angelo as Monterone and Nicola Moscona as Sparafucile added their earnest share to the evening's endeavors.

Gennaro Papi directed the opera, which was heard by one of the largest audiences of the week, and one which gave Miss Morel a big hand at the third act curtain.



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