[Met Performance] CID:133230
Don Giovanni {109} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/7/1942., Broadcast


Metropolitan Opera House
March 7, 1942 Matinee Broadcast


Don Giovanni............Ezio Pinza
Donna Anna..............Rose Bampton
Don Ottavio.............Charles Kullman
Donna Elvira............Jarmila Novotna
Leporello...............Alexander Kipnis
Zerlina.................Bidú Sayao
Masetto.................Mack Harrell
Commendatore............Norman Cordon

Conductor...............Bruno Walter

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times


He appears as Leporello for the first Time in Mozart Opera Given at Metropolitan

The production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" with Bruno Walter in the conductor's chair is now one of the brightest ornaments of the Metropolitan's repertory and the performance of yesterday afternoon when Alexander Kipnis made his first appearance in Leporello's role was if anything superior to previous ones under the same great leader.

Above all this performance had the swift pace and the racy quality which should inhere in the show with the descriptive adjective "Giocosa." It is a Shakespearean succession of scenes: the tragic end of Giovanni by no means indication of the nature of each of the episodes. For the legion runs on with every aspect of human nature finding play in it, and burlesque cheek by jowl with the figure of the disparing Donna Anna, and the balked and some times shrewish emoting of Donna Elvira, and the by-play of the unclean Leporello. The thing is to keep this motley in the full consciousness of the audience by means of dramatic characterization and Mozart's music.

Vocal Style Distinguished

It was a pleasure to perceive in Mr. Kipnis a singer who is an artist to his fingertips, who knows well the tradition of his role -- and who knows so well the difference between humor and farce. To say nothing of his voice and his distinguished vocal style. This was the outstanding new feature of the occasion.

The role of Masetto was taken for the first time on this stage by Mack Harrell and competently sung, but acted in that boyish Hansel-and-Gretel fashion in the first scene with Zerlina which is so completely wide of the mark and uncharacteristic of the frowsy, hard, suspicious peasant-who's a man for all that-of da Ponte's indication. And in the scene between the pair there was more of that superfluous and unadvisable detail which sometimes clutters Metropolitan dramatic presentation.

At the same time more important things are missed in the setup. One of these is the setting of the graveyard scene, which could be so macabre, which could and should reveal in an unearthly moonlight shining down on the statue, the most terrifying moment --the moment when the Commandant's statue nods its acceptance of the Don's invitation, that preluding to his doom.

Aria Greeted by Applause

But in the main an admirable performance, with Mr. Pinza in exceptional form. No wonder the applause crashed out after his champagne aria. But in scene after scene this role seems to have grown with him, grown in significance and versatility of dramatic effect. Supplementing the qualities of the superb voice. Then there was the truly passionate Donna Anna of Rose Bampton, sung with the most moving sincerity, and often despite the fact the fact that it often makes demands of dramatic expression in song more intense and more convincing than any other recent treatment of the part in this city.

Mmes. Novotna's Elvira has, if anything, excessive refinement, though it is beautifully done and the execution of the music met with a high intelligence and skill in resources. Miss Sayao's Zerlina has often been praised and justly.

Above all there was the conducting of Mr. Walter, the sensitive performance of the orchestra, the unity of the ensemble and of the whole interpretive scheme. Once more the indispensability of a great conductor for a great performance was demonstrated. The verdict of the audience was shown in the applause which followed and which often interrupted the performance.

Rebroadcast on Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio

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