[Met Performance] CID:130080
Lucia di Lammermoor {191} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/9/1940.

(Debut: Frank Valentino
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 9, 1940


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {191}
Donizetti-Cammarano

Lucia...................Lily Pons
Edgardo.................Nino Martini
Enrico..................Frank Valentino [Debut]
Raimondo................Norman Cordon
Normanno................Lodovico Oliviero
Alisa...................Thelma Votipka
Arturo..................John Carter

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............James Fox
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert
Choreographer...........Boris Romanoff

[At the time of his debut, Frank Valentino billed himself as Francesco Valentino. He shortened his name as of Dec. 5, 1951.]

Lucia di Lammermoor received two performances this season.

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times

LILY PONS AS LUCIA DELIGHTS AUDIENCE

Donizetti's Opera's Familiar Airs Greeted by Applause at the Metropolitan

VALENTINO MAKES DEBUT

Young Singer, Born Here Appears as Ashton - Martini has role of Edgardo

Though wars may go and war may come, "Lucia di Lammermoor" continues to hold the stage wherever operas are sung. Last night Donizetti's hardiest perennial began the Metropolitan Opera's second week. From the way the audience applauded at the end of all the familiar airs, it is safe to say that "Lucia" will go on delighting people for years to come. You can't beat Donizetti's formula with its lively sextet and with a coloratura soprano going melodically and brilliantly mad.

The soprano last night was Lily Pons. Having become an American citizen last week, Miss Pons began her eleventh season at the Metropolitan with the freshness of her first and the poise of a veteran. She dresses the role with boldness and imagination, and she sings with authority. She was in good voice, singing carefully and with due regard for the pitch. Miss Pons' is not the kind of dazzling voice that triumphs by sheer impact, but she employs it with intelligence, molding phrases and building climaxes skillfully.

Francesco Valentino, a young American baritone, who was born in this city, made his first appearance at the Metropolitan as Ashton. Mr. Valentino, who, we are assured, came by this name honestly, was educated in Denver, where he began to sing. When he was 20 he went to Italy to finish his studies and made his operatic debut there two years later. He has sung in the leading Italian opera houses as well as in others in Europe. He disclosed a light, soundly schooled voice, which lacks sensuousness, but is used to good effect. He knows the routine and should take his place as a valuable member of the company.

The Edgardo was Nino Martini whose voice was well focused and rang out with clarity and roundness. Norman Cordon sang Raimondo effectively. Thelma Votipka and John Carter fitted well into the sextet. Gennaro Papi kept the orchestra keyed up. At moments it sounded rough, but Mr. Papi made it come to life, which is a feat for "Lucia."

Today's graybeards talk of the golden age of song of their youth: It may be that tomorrow's gray- beards will hold forth about today's golden age of operatic looks. For Miss Pons and Mr. Martini made a handsome and youthful pair of lovers. They were as photogenic as a couple of Hollywood stars, which, in fact, they have been. It seemed a pity that the story should condemn so fine a pair to an unhappy end; they deserved to live happily ever after.



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