[Met Performance] CID:131520
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {173} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/5/1941.


Boston, Massachusetts
April 5, 1941 Matinee


Figaro..................John Charles Thomas
Rosina..................Josephine Tuminia
Count Almaviva..........Tito Schipa
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Irra Petina
Fiorello................Wilfred Engelman
Sergeant................John Dudley

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

Review of Cyrus Durgan in the Boston Globe

"Barber of Seville" Given a Remarkably Comic Performance

It all depends on how it's done. With a merely adequate cast who fumble through stage business learned by rote, "The Barber of Seville" is just an operatic centenarian. But if, as was true of the Metropolitan's performance yesterday afternoon, there are first-rank singing actors for Bartolo and Basilio, and lively singers in the other three principal roles, "The Barber" is a superlatively funny show.

The afternoon really belonged to Mr. Baccaloni and Mr. Pinza, who romped through Beaumarchais' involved action, and Rossini's effervescent music with what you might call creative comedy. Creative because it was about as far from mechanical acting as could be imagined. Neither missed a trick. Their patter songs were deliciously rhythmic, every comic inflection of the music was mirrored on the stage by gesture or movement. And although the performance went along at high speed there was no sacrifice of style.

Mr. Pinza, it is refreshing to note, does not make up or act Don Basilio like a weird clown. The nose is pointed, not huge; the face eccentric, not grotesque. Genuine artistry governs his characterization, because the music master was not a buffoon, but an uncommonly acute individual. Mr. Baccaloni goes in for low comedy with his Dr. Bartolo and at the same time surrounds the fat old sharper with essential elegance and down-the-nose superiority. As for singing, both Mr. Pinza and Mr. Baccaloni deserved bravissimas in abundance.

If Miss Tuminia continues to perfect her technic, she ought to be a notable coloratura. That she began the "Una voce poco fa" slightly below pitch was not a serious matter. Miss Tuminia's vocal foundation seems to be quite sound, increased volume of tone and technical ease should come with further experience. She will also learn to act with more assurance. She is now a talented and promising young artist.

One always thinks of irreproachable singing style in connection with Tito Schipa. His voice has lost some of its freedom and strength, yet he employs it with all his familiar skill and taste. As an actor he was pleasantly competent, in fact a good deal better than most tenors who essay Almaviva.

Figaro is no role for an Anglo-Saxon, though Mr. Thomas sang the ubiquitous barber's music well enough . Dramatically, Figaro requires a Latin nimbleness and temperament Mr. Thomas did not muster. Miss Petina does more with Berta, both musically and from the comic point of view than any other singer within memory. Mr. Papi was an alert conductor.

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