[Met Performance] CID:131500
L'Amore dei Tre Re {62} Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/3/1941.


Boston, Massachusetts
April 3, 1941


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 [Last performance]
Shepherd................Maxine Stellman

Conductor...............Italo Montemezzi [Last performance]

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

Grace Moore Sings in Montemezzi's "The Love of Three Kings"

In its way, "The Love of Three Kings" is an ideal music-drama. Few indeed are the operas that may be compared with it for sheer loveliness of sound, for adept craftsmanship, subtlety and graceful blending of drama with music. The Metropolitan's performance of the work last evening, the composer himself conducting, was the second high point of the present engagement, "Don Giovanni" having been the first.

It would not be accurate to ascribe the size of the audience entirely to the music or to Mr. Montemezzi's Fiora. No one needs to be reminded that among the streamlined wing of Metropolitan sopranos, Miss Moore has an extra high quotient of eye-appeal. She is also a "personality," a singer who can and does act with both her voice and her body.

With the proper role, therefore, and without the dramatic over-emphasis which Miss Moore has been known to indulge, she is certain to give a performance of magnetism. Fiora is that sort of role. She sang it charmingly, negotiating Montemezzi's sensuous music easily and surely. Of the love duet in the second act, it is necessary only to say that the already high temperature of the music was raised a good deal further. Miss Moore did not exaggerate Fiora from the dramatic point of view, aside from a little too much posturing as she ascended to wave her scarf from the battlements. And how beautifully she wore Fiora's crown and mantle - one of the richest costumes in which any heroine ever met operatic death.

Ezio Pinza is to be credited with another superlative characterization. His Archibaldo is extraordinarily gripping, sung with mastery of style and absolute understanding of the dramatic nature of the part. Nor was he ever in better form vocally than last evening.

Mr. Kullman's Avito was finer on the musical than the acting side, though in all respects it was full of vigor and passion. Manfredo, perhaps the most sporting of all betrayed operatic husbands known to this reviewer, had a competent portrayal by Mr. Bonelli.

"The Love of Three Kings" is quite remarkable because it sounds very fresh, although composed just before the first World War, a period which artistically now seems deep in the past. It was one of several scores which marked the passing of an epoch, the epoch of Richard Strauss and Mahler and Debussy, of the late musical romanticists and the impressionists.

Thoroughly Italian in the substance of the music, it yet reveals a certain "international" character in its orchestration. Montemezzi was influenced by Wagner, and in mood and dramatic restraint by Debussy of "Pélleas et Mélisande." Once in a while you hear little orchestral details to remind you of Strauss. Here is music warm and colorful and passionate, not torrential or epic as with Wagner, but of a soft, reflective beauty, idealized if you like. Great it probably is not, though Montemezzi achieved in the passages from the death of Fiora to the end of the second act, an eerie, other-worldly effect astonishingly imaginative and approaching greatness.

Mr. Montemezzi's conducting must have drawn from singers and orchestra just the results he desired. At least he produced an evening of luscious sonority, and a performance of power and fascination.

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