[Met Performance] CID:130810
L'Amore dei Tre Re {59} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/7/1941.

(Debut: Italo Montemezzi
Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 7, 1941


L'AMORE DEI TRE RE {59}
Montemezzi-S. Benelli

Fiora...................Grace Moore
Avito...................Charles Kullman
Manfredo................Richard Bonelli
Archibaldo..............Ezio Pinza
Flaminio................Alessio De Paolis
Maid....................Lucielle Browning
Young Woman.............Maxine Stellman
Old Woman...............Anna Kaskas
Youth...................Nicholas Massue
Shepherd................Reno Mabilli

Conductor...............Italo Montemezzi [Debut]

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Mario Sala
Set designer............Joseph Novak [Act II only]

L'Amore dei Tre Re received four performances this season.

Review of Francis D. Perkins in The New York Herald Tribune

Italo Montemezzi has heard his "L'Amore dei Tre Re" before this at the Metropolitan Opera House, but last night marked the first time that he has conducted it in the theater in which it had its American premiere twenty-seven years ago. The participation of a composer in the interpretation of his own music is not unprecedented at the Metropolitan, but yet occurs infrequently enough to be something of a special occasion. Another case of advane interest was the first local disclosure by Grace Moore of the role of the hapless Fiora.

The occasion was one of much fervent acclaim. Mr. Montemezzi received a long ovation before he raised his baton to begin this already historic work, and shared other extensive demonstrations with Miss Moore, Mr. Pinza, and their fellow principals. A composer is not the best interpreter of his own music, but Mr, Montemezzi impressed as a talented conductor in his own right. The musical performance as a whole was well balanced and coordinated, the varied colors and sonorities of the expertly woven orchestral score were fully realized, and while the importance of the orchestra was not underestimated, the instruments did not encroach upon the province of the voices.

Miss Moore, a Fiora pleasing to look upon, sang the role last fall in Chicago under the composer's direction. That she has striven nobly to understand and project it persuasively from a dramatic as well as a musical point of view was obvious and much praise could be bestowed upon the tone quality and phrasing, as well as upon the expressiveness of her singing. But her depiction of the part gave a certain impression of self-consciousness, of a series of poses, of impersonating rather than being the character. The necessary sense of identification can be expected to increase as Miss Moore gains familiarity with her latest assignment and realizes more closely her admirable intentions.

For one hearer, this music drama has not survived the passage of time entirely unscathed. Its occcasional derivations may be discounted; likewise the parallels to "Tristan" in the second act. But, with some memorable exceptions, its basic musical ideas seemed less individual, less readily grasped and recalled than they had [been]; the romanticism seemed at times to be of a kind that may not necessarily survive. But prophecy here would be rash.


From the Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times

[Miss Moore] sang the music better than we had ever heard her sing, with freedom, and glow of color and opulent tone to cap the orchestra climaxes.

This was greatly in her favor. Unfortunately, her dramatic interpretation is inadequate. She was rather incredibly costumed, in bizarre plushy colors well out of key with the setting of the opera and its period. She simulated, with conspicuous unsuccess, Fiora's spirit and Fiora's passion. In the endeavor to be simple she was stiff, and in places where abandon was supposed to rule, she made she made sudden emotions that suggested a poor copy of the more extravagant moments of one Mary Garden. It may be that when she becomes accustomed to the part, the palpable artificiality of her present histrionic version will disappear or become materially modified. Let us hope so.



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