[Met Performance] CID:132270
L'Elisir d'Amore {57} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/16/1941.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 16, 1941


Adina...................Bidú Sayao
Nemorino................Bruno Landi
Belcore.................Frank Valentino
Dr. Dulcamara...........Salvatore Baccaloni
Giannetta...............Mona Paulee

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

Review of Henry Pleasants in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Baccaloni in 'L'Elisir d'Amore'

Landi, Sayao and Valentino Complete Revival Cast

The Metropolitan Opera Association brought its brand new revival of Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore" to the Academy of Music last night, with Salvatore Baccaloni as the quack Dulcamara, Bidu Sayao as Adina, Bruno Landi as Nemorino and Francesco Valentino as Sergeant Belcore. Ettore Panizza conducted. Not since the season of 1929-30 had the opera been heard here. In that season it had two performances, one by the Metropolitan with Pinza, Morgana, Gigli and De Luca, the other by the Civic Opera Company with La Puma, Zelinska, d'Orlini and Eddy.

The present production is one of the best integrated and most shrewdly cast of all the many revivals of the Johnson regime. And the opera is well worth all the care and devotion it has received. The play itself is a well made and engaging little rustic comedy, and the score is a fountain of fine Donizetti melodies, made to order for such singers, as were assembled in last night's cast.

The dominant figure, in more than one sense of the term, was the tremendous Mr. Baccaloni who hawked his medicines with a witty gusto worthy of W. C. Fields in the famous "Udite, rustici" and thereafter scrambled in and out of the plot with infectious rascality and good humor, wonderfully heightened by an enormous personal bulk propelled by incongruously agile legs.

Mr. Landi and Miss Sayao as the simple-minded peasant lovers and Mr. Valentino as the disturbingly predatory sergeant contributed to an amusing and likeable triangle. Mr. Landi was making his first appearance here as a member of the Metropolitan, but was no stranger, having been for the past two seasons, the principal lyric tenor of the Philadelphia-La Scala Company. For Mr. Valentino it was, not counting an obscure appearance at the time of the Sesqui-Centennial, a Philadelphia debut.

The Metropolitan subscription audience was fortunate in hearing Mr. Landi in a role singularly well adapted to his voice and style of singing. He enjoyed the success of the evening with his beautifully executed "Una furtiva lagrima" and sang throughout the performance with exemplary command both of his vocal resources and of the Donizetti style. His impersonation of the dull witted Nemorino was marked by similar intelligence and taste.

Miss Sayao was a pretty Adina and a skillful and tasteful singer of Donizetti tunes. She handled the frequent passages of vocal fioritura brilliantly and fluently, and in a manner nicely calculated to keep them within the essentially simple frame of the music. Mr. Valentino bore himself with military authority and swagger, and matched the fluency of his colleagues in the florid style. He is obviously an artist of much ability and accomplishment. Mona Paulee, one of last year's Metropolitan Auditions of the Air prize winners, assumed the minor part of Giannetta.

The production was effectively mounted and staged, and the chorus sang excellently, One could not help but notice, however, that of the whole female membership of the chorus only the veteran Marie Savage troubled to complete her peasant costume with the proper shoes

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