[Met Performance] CID:133360
La Traviata {244} Lyric Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland: 03/18/1942.

(Review)


Baltimore, Maryland
March 18, 1942


LA TRAVIATA {244}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Bidú Sayao
Alfredo.................Bruno Landi
Germont.................Richard Bonelli
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Alessio De Paolis
Baron Douphol...........Wilfred Engelman
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis D'Angelo
Annina..................Helen Olheim
Dance...................Michael Arshansky
Dance...................Ruthanna Boris
Dance...................Leon Varkas

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

Review of Robert B. Cochrane in the Baltimore Sun

Metropolitan Opera Presents "Traviata" With Bidu Sayao And Bruno Landi


Metropolitan Opera came to its end in Baltimore for this season - and perhaps for the duration of the war - at the Lyric last night when an audience larger by far than for either of the two previous productions saw the opera world's Camille meet her wistful, sighing doom in Verdi's "La Taviata."

As the fate-ridden heroine, Bidu Sayao, a pleasant young coloratura soprano from Brazil scored an outstanding success with her fine drawn characterization, her clear-cut, persuasive singing and her excellent acting. Wearing a succession of gorgeous costumes except, of course in the death scene, she was a visual model of Violetta as well as being above reproach vocally.

Brazilian's Riant Voice Of Mercurial Flexibility

An announcement folded in the program notified patrons that Richard Crooks was ailing and his place in the cast, taken on scant notice by Bruno Landi. Mr. Crooks, it was said, suffers from a poorly healed meision.

Between them Mr. Landi and Miss Sayao provided some fine singing. In many moments they succeeded in establishing a real mood of "opera intimae," incredibly difficult in a hall as big as the Lyric. Their main attention was to the perfection of small details like floating piannissimi, balance and lend in their duets and a continued outpouring of vocal richness that permeated their less forceful passages.

Neither singer boasts a big voice, but both carry well and were under prudent and effortless control that lent effort to well-tailored music. In only a few passages did Mr. Landi try to force the tone, with consequent lessening of richness. Miss Sayao was never extended beyond easy compass and the role of Violetta. in which tricky notes are frequently smeared by sopranos of heavier timbre, provided but a mildly exerting workout for the mercurial flexibility of the Brazilian's riant voice.

Orchestra Under Well Considered Restraint

Ettore Panizza, who conducted, kept the orchestra under considered restraint so as not to overshadow the principals. Verdi provided a really lovely score for the pitmen, particularly the strings, and its singing melodies were poured out with a Latin regard for melodic line.

The others in the cast were adequate. Richard Bonelli was roundly applauded for "Di Provenza il mar" which he sang as Giorgio Germnont, Alfredo's father. His voice last night, however, had a rough quality, a vibrato that fitted ill with the fine grained qualities of the principals. In lesser roles Helen Olheim, George Cehanovsky, Wilfred Engelman and Thelma Votipka gave excellent support.

Matters of production rated comment and commendation. The [first] scene, Violetta's drawing room, drew instant applause at the curtain, though some of this praise was undoubtedly excited by the brilliant costumes of that act. Miss Sayao's gown of pink satin and rhinestones was especially notable. The dancers of the ballet did their bit with apparent zest.



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