[Met Performance] CID:125310
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {164} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/28/1939.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 28, 1939


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA {164}

Figaro..................John Charles Thomas
Rosina..................Lily Pons
Count Almaviva..........Nino Martini
Dr. Bartolo.............Virgilio Lazzari
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Irra Petina
Fiorello................Wilfred Engelman
Sergeant................Giordano Paltrinieri

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

[In the Lesson Scene Pons sang Où va la jeune Indoue from Lakmé.]

Review of Linton Martin in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Pons in "Barber" Closes Met Season

Star Sings Role Here for the Fourth Time

Mrs. Andre Kostelanetz made her first Philadelphia operatic appearance last night in the identical role that marked the debut here of Mlle. Lily Pons eight years ago on the same stage. For it was with the naïve, guiless gaiety of Rossini's 123 year old "The Barber of Seville" that the Metropolitan Opera Association left them laughing as it said goodbye to its Academy customers for the season on the current occasion.

Altogether, the evening was as exuberant as it was innocuous for this final performance in the longest and most successful season the Metropolitan has had here since its return to town four years ago with Edward Johnson as impresario.

Role Suits Temperament

Apparently everybody, or almost everybody, had a gay good time as Rossini's quaint old comedy was given in romping, rollicking fashion by Miss Pons - or Mrs. Kostelanetz if anybody insists upon being technical about it - as Rosina. John Charles Thomas as the Figaro of the title role, Nino Martini as Count Almaviva, Ezio Pinza as Don Basilio and Virgilio Lazzari as Bartolo.

As for the petite and piquant Miss Pons, Rosina is evidently her most favored and familiar role for Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera subscribers. For last night was the fourth time the dainty, demure and diminutive French coloratura soprano has sung the part in this city, and it is ideally suited to her temperament, talents and vocal equipment. She was even better in the "Lesson Scene" than her [first] "Una voce poco fa," but her voice was as fresh and flexible as her acting was sprightly in a part making no emotional demands at all. In the "Lesson Scene" Miss Pons sang the florid "Bell Song" from Delibes' "Lakmé."

Subscribers Thanked

The robust Mr. Thomas was in fine fettle as Figaro throughout. His famous [first act] aria, the tongue-tripping "Largo al Factotum," was hailed with a spontaneous burst of applause and he earned the unqualified enthusiasm of the capacity audience.

Very special comedy honors were earned by Ezio Pinza in the grotesquely amusing role of Don Basilio. His sonorous voice gave resounding emphasis to the "Calumnia" number, which he sang with the utmost drollery.

Nino Martini supplied nominal romantic interest and adequate tenor tones as the Count Almaviva, but not much else. Virgilio Lazzari was the quaintly comical Doctor Bartolo. Irra Petina and Wilfred Engelman were effective in minor roles, and Gennaro Papi conducted energetically.



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