[Met Performance] CID:131530
Il Trovatore {212} Boston, Massachusetts: 04/5/1941.


Boston, Massachusetts
April 5, 1941

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Arthur Carron
Leonora.................Stella Roman
Count Di Luna...........Frank Valentino
Azucena.................Bruna Castagna
Ferrando................Nicola Moscona
Ines....................Thelma Votipka
Ruiz....................Lodovico Oliviero
Gypsy...................Arthur Kent

Conductor...............Ettore Panizza

Review signed L. B. in the Boston Transcript

New " Trovatore" Production is Graf's Triumph

If within one eight-day period Stella Roman can sing and act a third rate Santuzza and then a first rate Leonora, and when the later and not the earlier production is under the direction of Herbert Graf, then what Mr. Downes' anonymous friend calls "regisseur's opera" is already with us. Saturday evening the Metropolitan Opera Association presented its new production of what has hitherto been only an old war-horse, Verdi's "Il Trovatore," "The Troubador."

The new production was as far removed from dull humdrum as possible. The sets were designed by Harry Horner in the modern manner, to convey an impression, rather than to represent photographically. The costumes by Mary Percy Schenk were designed to harmonize with the settings, as opposed to the old practice of allowing each singer to wear his own private costume for each work in his repertoire (a practice which, incidentally, sometimes brought about ridiculous combinations of styles and colors.)

Under the direction of Dr. Graf operatic acting consists of more than extending the right arm and looking up to the balcony (although that little red-headed, mustachioed man in the right center of the chorus hasn't learned it yet). Miss Roman actually acted for this performance and acted so smoothly and so easily that the efforts of it did not subtract from her attentions to her voice. As heard under these more favorable circumstances we found that she sings with a big, clear, round tone, evenly scaled except at the very bottom. And we found that she can soar very beautifully above the orchestra, the chorus and other soloists as well.

Bruna Castagna as Azucena, the old gypsy, was throughout a morbidly vengeful hag with a one track mind, bent on avenging the death of her mother. She sang in appropriately dark and heavy tones, matching sound to mood and action.

The leading male roles were less satisfactorily filled. Arthur Carron as Manrico was not in good voice and seemed to have benefited little from the raising of standards in general. As warrior, he was not quite fierce enough; as son, not devoted enough; as lover, not ardent enough. Vocally he seemed a little hoarse and lacking in flexibility. Francesco Valentino played the Conte de Luna with perhaps even more stiffness than is inherent in the part. His singing, however, was smooth enough to permit a seemingly effortless projection of the difficulties of "Il Balen."

Thelma Votipka as Inez and Nicola Moscona as Ferrando acted and sang their small parts with musical and dramatic conviction.

Credit for excellence of musical ensemble equal to the dramatic unity must go to conductor Ettore Panizza. The co-operation of Mr. Panizza and Dr. Graf resulted in a performance in which the singers really knew what to do to make their roles convincing and could sing to the audience instead of the prompter's box.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).