[Met Performance] CID:128830
La Traviata {238} Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia: 04/22/1940.

(Review)


Atlanta, Georgia
Municipal Auditorium
April 22, 1940


LA TRAVIATA {238}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Helen Jepson
Alfredo.................Richard Crooks
Germont.................Giuseppe De Luca [Last performance]
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Alessio De Paolis
Baron Douphol...........Wilfred Engelman
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis D'Angelo
Annina..................Helen Olheim

Act II, Scene 2 Divertissement
Lillian Moore, Monna Montes, Corps de Ballet

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

Review of Mozelle Horton Young in the Atlanta Constitution

Opera-Loving Atlanta Feasts at Met First Night

Gorgeous Jepson Heads Brilliant Cast in Verdi's "La Traviata"

Opera-hungry Atlanta feasted last night - for the Metropolitan Opera Company opened its first Atlanta season in 10 years with the ever-appealing strains of Verdi's "La Traviata" in the city auditorium.

It was a gala night. It was a performance that will never be forgotten in Atlanta.

The auditorium was packed almost beyond capacity and the brilliance of the performance was rivaled only by the brilliance of the costumes and the enthusiasm of the audience as they drank in the glorious music.

Brilliant Cast

No more brilliant or thoroughly pleasing cast could have been chosen than Helen Jepson, Richard Crooks and Giuseppe de Luca. And with their supporting cast of Thelma Votipka, Helen Oelheim, Alessio de Paolis, Wilfred Engelman, George Cehanovsky, and Louis d'Angelo they brought back the glory of "the old days."

It was like getting back again some wonderful thing you thought was gone forever. And what is better still, the "Met" today is as great, and in many respects greater than in the eras gone by.

Helen Jepson was the gorgeous Violetta. She was gorgeous vocally and gorgeous to the eye. Jepson is a combination that is almost unbelievable in opera. She is an exquisite singer, with a glorious quality that sends chills up and down your spine. She is an exceptionally fine actress. She makes you feel the story emotionally. And she is lovely to gaze upon.

Perfect Rendition

Her rendition of the aria "Ah, fors' e lui" in the first act was so perfectly done that it will be talked about from now on.

Jepson's voice is velvety and smooth and floats above the orchestra clearly. She is versatile and has her voice in perfect command. She is unquestionably one of the great Violettas of all time.

Richard Crooks was Alfredo, lover of Violetta. His tenor voice matched Jepson's perfectly in the many wonderful love duets in the opera. Crooks has the kind of voice that sings its way right to your heart.

The poignant quality, the appeal it makes is particularly adaptable to the role of Alfredo. Crooks did his finest singing in the second and last acts. Both he and Jepson excelled anything the audience had anticipated in the love duet "Parigi o cara" in the last act.

De Luca Gets Ovation

Giuseppe de Luca was the elder Germont, father of Alfredo, replacing Tibbett, who had to cancel his engagement on account of illness.

Atlanta was happy to greet one of their old favorites, de Luca, and when he stepped upon the stage in the second act he received an ovation. It is amazing how one who sung so long as de Luca could still possess such a marvelous voice. There is in his voice all the smoothness, color and vibrance of a young man, And, with it, de Luca is a great artist.

His acting, as well as his singing, moved the audience greatly. His pleading with Violetta in the second act was emotionally touching. And his singing of the aria "Di Provenza il mar" to Alfredo was a great piece of operatic work.

Excellent Support

Thelma Votipka as Flora Bervoix and Helen Oelheim as Annina made fine vocal and histrionic bits of their roles. Alessio de Paolis as Gastone, Wilfred Engelman as Baron Duphol, George Cehanovsky as Marquis d'Obigny and Louis d'Angelo as Dr. Grenville made excellent contributions to the performance.

Maestro Gennaro Papi proved a dynamic conductor, and drew from artists, orchestra, and chorus a marvelous finished product.

From the ethereal [first] strains of the orchestra in the overture, through all the love themes, and the dramatic moments of the score, the audience enjoyed the orchestra almost as much as the singing.

Colorful Ballet

The ballet of Act III with Lillian Moore, Monna Montes and the corps de ballet, was a colorful and gay dance, with charm and beauty, adding much to the enjoyment of the opera.

The chorus is also a finely trained unit. Their ensemble work was par excellence. Their attacks were always on the dot, and there was never a ragged edge in any of their work. Fausto Cleva was chorus master.



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