[Met Performance] CID:133560
La Traviata {246} Cleveland Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 04/10/1942.

(Review)


Cleveland, Ohio
April 10, 1942


LA TRAVIATA {246}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Helen Jepson
Alfredo.................Jan Peerce
Germont.................John Charles Thomas
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Alessio De Paolis
Baron Douphol...........Wilfred Engelman
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Mack Harrell
Annina..................Lucielle Browning
Dance...................Michael Arshansky
Dance...................Ruthanna Boris
Dance...................Leon Varkas

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

Review of Herbert Elwell in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Opera Lovers Acclaim Thomas in "Traviata"

Verdi's "La Traviata" in the evening and "The Magic Flute" by Mozart in the afternoon made a full day for opera fans at Public Hall yesterday. At one point in the matinee performance a little group of animals was enticed on to the stage and captivated by the magic spell of Mozart's famous flute. It may be said that both of the Metropolitan's offerings yesterday had a similar effect upon the thousands of listeners. They were enchanted.

At one point in the evening performance the crowd became boisterous in its enthusiasm. This was when John Charles Thomas took his bow at the end of the second act in which he sings "Di Provenza il Mar." The whistling and shouting were provoked by one of the finest exhibitions of singing and acting of the entire week of opera here. Thomas gave a magnificent impersonation of the elder Germont, clean and powerful in every detail. His perfect diction, the warmth and evenness of his tone, not to mention his beautiful legato style, were sources of deep pleasure to lovers of vocal artistry.

Some Ingredient Lacking

Though Jan Peerce has been heard a number of times in concert, last night was his first appearance here in opera. He was cast as Alfredo, the impetuous lover of Violetta. One wonders whether this was the happiest choice of character for this excellent tenor. There was some indefinable but important ingredient lacking to make him altogether convincing as a reckless, poetic young aristocrat. But his singing had zest, warmth and fluency. It also rose to dramatic heights of fiery intensity.

Helen Jepson has given us many admirable performances, and her Violetta is a characterization well known to Cleveland opera audiences. But her work last night was somewhat less than her best, for her singing was uneven, and neither her diction nor her intonation were entirely above reproach. There were, however, several beautiful moments, particularly in her coloratura passages. And some of her high notes rang out with thrilling resonance. This tall, fair beauty is always too radiant; a picture of perfect health to make one feel sorry for her as a victim of consumption. But she knows how to depict this supposedly frail heroine with exceptional graciousness.

Votipka Success

Thelma Votipka again scored a well-deserved success as Flora Bervoix. Others in the cast, like Lucielle Browning as Annina, Alessio de Paolis as Gastone, Wilfred Engelman as Baron Duphol, George Cehanovsky as Marquis D'Obigny and Mack Harrell as Doctor Grenvil, turned in performances of a high order.

One of the Metropolitan's most able conductors, Ettore Panizza, made his first appearance of the week. With his customary command of routine he gave cohesion and spirit to the production.

The choral work was good, and members of the ballet again distinguished themselves in a short divertissement in the third act ball-room scene, where Alfredo misbehaves and gets himself into a duel by publicly insulting Violetta.



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