[Met Performance] CID:131690
Le Nozze di Figaro {68} Fair Park Auditorium, Dallas, Texas: 04/25/1941.


Dallas, Texas
April 25, 1941


Figaro..................Ezio Pinza
Susanna.................Bidú Sayao
Count Almaviva..........John Brownlee
Countess Almaviva.......Elisabeth Rethberg
Cherubino...............Jarmila Novotna
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Marcellina..............Irra Petina
Don Basilio.............Alessio De Paolis
Antonio.................Louis D'Angelo
Barbarina...............Annamary Dickey
Don Curzio..............George Rasely
Peasant.................Helen Olheim
Peasant.................Maxine Stellman
Dance...................Lillian Moore
Dance...................Julia Barashkova
Dance...................Josef Levinoff
Dance...................Paul Sweeney

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

Review of W. A. Payne in the Dallas Journal

Galaxy of Met Stars Gives Dallas Brilliant "Figaro"

Dallas and the southwest met a new kind of opera at Fair Park auditorium Friday night - and liked it.

For the Metropolitan Company reached into its special repertoire to bring out a star-studded presentation of Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" such as an opera audience never has seen hereabouts.

"Figaro' is Mozart at his best and Mozart is in a class by himself when it comes to operatic scores. He writes as no other composer. For an audience accustomed to beautiful arias and choruses, the "Figaro" audience heard an opera which had these two delicacies, but also added the long and difficult passages of musical conversation.

Parade of Stars

And, too, "Figaro" requires more than the usual opera's quota of stage acumen. Its light, airy score must be accompanied by the gestures and stage mannerisms which fit its quick-moving score - and Friday night the Met paraded its star performers across the Fair Park stage to assure that "Figaro" would lack nothing.

For most of the audience, an almost full house of more than 4,000 opera lovers, "Figaro" was a return triumph for the Met's beloved basso, Ezio Pinza. This man of expert musicianship and of the deep resonant voice did not need his performance in last night's title role to attain a top listing in Dallas operatic history - he already had that - but he sang as Dallas has never heard him. "Figaro" gives the basso ample opportunity to show his wares and Pinza took advantage of every opportunity. He accompanied his magnificent vocal demonstration with a restrained buffoonery which would have done credit to a similar role in the days of silent movies.

Sayao Wins Dallas

Most of the "Figaro" cast, like Pinza, were old favorites of Dallas and to that list now can be added the name - and voice - of Bidu Sayao, the Susanna of the opera. This Brazilian singer matched the rich beauty of her own graceful self with a light, dainty handling of a difficult role which gives her slight chance to present her operatic capabilities.

But back to the favorites. There were John Brownlee as the Count Almaviva, Elisabeth Rethberg as the Countess, Jarmila Novotna as the page boy and Salvatore Baccaloni as Bartolo. The latter, so far as operatic presentation in Dallas is concerned, is new, but we have heard so much of him since he joined the Metropolitan company this season that he seems like an old friend.

Rethberg in Spirit

Miss Rethberg turned her long experience on the opera stage to good account. "Figaro" requires more of airiness than is usually connected with Miss Rethberg's operas. But Friday night she entered into the spirit of things and her handling of the role of the Countess was an inspiration to the younger feminine stars.

The full capacity of Mr. Brownlee's excellent baritone was not reached until his third act aria, but here he made for any slighting of which he might have been guilty in the earlier scenes.

A special note of praise should go to Miss Novotna. Hers was perhaps the most difficult role. She impersonated a boy throughout the evening and at one time she was a boy impersonating a girl. As Cherubino, she called on all her histrionic and vocal training and it stood her in good stead, for she was one of the rich portions of "Figaro."

Baccaloni Comedy

Mr. Baccaloni, who has gained fame as the buffo-basso of the "Daughter of the Regiment," did not have an opportunity in "Figaro" fully to exploit the antics and voice which have brought him fame after only a season with the Met. But he did provide the comic relief, if any was needed.

There were others in the "Figaro" cast who deserve praise. There was Irra Petina, as Marcellina, who matched the clowning of Baccaloni in a dainty sort of way. And George Rasely, the Judge, who had his own moment in the third act; Alessio de Paolis, another who sang his brief parts with understanding; Annamary Dickey who seemed destined for big things with the Met and Helen Olheim and Maxine Stellman, whose pleasant duet was a welcome break in the marriage scene.

Well-Conducted Also

Not the least of the credit for a sterling "Figaro" should go to conductor Ettore Panizza, for directing the musicians in the Mozart score is as difficult as singing it.

And, also, the stage provided just the correct setting to give the feeling of intimacy in the first three acts and at the same time giving the singers the full benefit of a big stage. Deft use of perspective accomplished this and the same capable handling presented a garden scene in the closing act which seemed to extend far beyond the limits of even the Fair Park auditorium's capacious stage.

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