[Met Performance] CID:128170
Le Nozze di Figaro {56} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/26/1940.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 26, 1940


LE NOZZE DI FIGARO {56}

Figaro..................Ezio Pinza
Susanna.................Bid˙ Sayao
Count Almaviva..........John Brownlee
Countess Almaviva.......Elisabeth Rethberg
Cherubino...............Jarmila Novotna
Dr. Bartolo.............Virgilio Lazzari
Marcellina..............Irra Petina
Don Basilio.............Alessio De Paolis
Antonio.................Louis D'Angelo
Barbarina...............Marita Farell
Don Curzio..............Giordano Paltrinieri
Peasant.................Lucielle Browning
Peasant.................Maxine Stellman
Dance...................Monna Montes
Dance...................Lillian Moore
Dance...................George Chaffee
Dance...................Vonn Irkust

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

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun

NOVOTNA SINGS IN 'NOZZE DI FIGARO'

Pinza and Rethberg Also in Cast.

The prisoner at the bar last night was the Metropolitan's production of "Le Nozze di Figaro," which stood accused of making "good fun" out of Mozart. Sitting as judge and jury was the first subscription audience to hear this revival, following its introduction at an Opera Guild "gala" last week. So far as attention, laughter and enthusiasm may be interpreted as endorsement, the defendant was clearly vindicated. However, those who prefer to have their fun out of good Mozart still had reservations.

That there were perhaps fewer of these than before may be attributed to a toning down of some of the broader comic business that was seen last week (though a good deal of it remains) and also to the first appearance of Jarmila Novotna as Cherubino. A thoroughly credible figure in appearance and a graceful one in movement, she added substantially to the total of Mozart singing of style and finish that the performance afforded. Her treatment of ""Non so piu cosa son" in the first act was delightfully fluent and well accentuated (despite the limitations of the voice itself), her "Voi she sapete" was sung with cultivated taste and a superior sense of line. She also handled the comic complexities of the part with good mobility and resourcefulness.

Though the absurdities and bad taste of the scenery and costuming remained as before, the "flag" waved by Susanna after "Non piu andrai" in the first act was more plainly a yellow portiere, and Ezio Pinza as Figaro dispensed with some of the more obvious comedy of his part, especially in his fourth act monologue addressed to the audience. This, incidentally, was a bit of virtuoso singing that properly climaxed an evening of exceptional effort by Mr. Pinza. The vocal richness and verve of his Figaro will be a durable memory. Elisabeth Rethberg's Countess and John Brownlee's Count each had their merits as well as weaknesses. Bidu Sayao repeated her diminutive and sometimes inaudible Susanna, with Alessio de Paolis, Irra Petina and Marita Farell prominent in the supporting cast. Ettore Panizza received a well-merited salutation from the huge audience at his final appearance, which he passed on to the deserving orchestra.



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