[Met Performance] CID:133670
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {181} Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia: 04/22/1942.


Atlanta, Georgia
April 22, 1942


Figaro..................John Brownlee
Rosina..................Bidú Sayao
Count Almaviva..........Bruno Landi
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Norman Cordon
Berta...................Irra Petina
Fiorello................Wilfred Engelman
Sergeant................John Dudley

Conductor...............Frank St. Leger

Review of Eugenia Bridges Harty in the Atlanta Constitution

Auditorium Packed for Rossini "Barber"

Atlanta music patrons, including subscribers to the All-Star-Concert Series, filled the municipal auditorium to capacity last night when the Atlanta Music Club presented the Metropolitan Opera Company in Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" as the final attraction for its season ticket holders.

The opera was the second given by the Met in Atlanta this week, "Carmen" having opened the season Thursday night. The last in the three-day season will be Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment" tonight, starring Lily Pons, famous coloratura soprano, and Salvatore Baccaloni, who made his Atlanta debut last night while stealing the show

Tonight's opera was, as destined, a gala evening, one to which music lovers had been looking forward all season, and for many good reasons. Salvatore Baccaloni, the great basso-buffo, made a spectacular debut in the role of Dr. Bartolo. Bidu Sayao, the charming little Brazilian soprano, sang here for the first time in opera, portraying Rossini's heroine, Rosina. Norman Cordon, the tall North Carolina basso, handled the capacious Don Basilio part originally programmed for Ezio Pinza. Bruno Landi, as the Count of Almaviva, made his local bow as did Irra Petina, the tiny Russian mezzo-soprano as Berta. The Figaro was John Brownlee, the Australian baritone.

Wilfred Engelman, young American baritone, the only member of the cast to sing here all three nights, sang Fiorello's part. And John Dudley, another young American, tenor, was the Official.

The orchestra was in the capable hands of an American conductor, Frank St. Leger. And the "Star Spangled Banner" was offered at the start in a tempo that was singable. (Sir Thomas Beecham, who conducted the first-night 'Carmen" makes his is swing time).

Baccaloni's Show

It was from start to finish Baccaloni's show. But he had as excellent co-stars as one might imagine in this day and time. The comic basso who tips the scale at 360 pounds must have been grown for the role. His interpretation laves nothing to be desired and the audience shook with laughter every time he lifted his little finger. Here is a great artist, at long last.

With perfect ease he let flow the rapid-fire Italian, his own language obviously. Again, as in Lily Djanel's diction as Carmen, his was so excellent as to leave one wondering what the others were talking about. The difficult aria, "A Doctor of My Importance," was revived by the Met after some years of disuse, for Baccaloni's Dr. Bartolo.

Baccaloni, however, is greatly aided in his effective comedy by his fellow conspirator, Norman Cordon, as the wily music teacher. The comparison of the physical structures of the two men is in itself comic, Cordon is six feet four, slender and graceful. Baccaloni is not taller than the diminutive soprano Bidu Sayao, and would make half dozen of her in width.

Cordon's Aria

Cordon's aria "La Calunnia," in which he confides his scheme to Baccaloni to ruin the reputation of the hero by spreading scandal about him, was a masterpiece. Credit must be given here and throughout the performance to little Mr. Senz for his fantastic highly laughable surgery on the faces of some of the members of the cast. Cordon's was unbelievably funny.

Tiny Bidu Sayao, the lovely heroine, was a beautiful Rosina. Her caressing voice is well fitted for the music and she handles the role, histrionically, with skill and charm. For her song during the music lesson, she used Pietro Cimara's "L'Inutile Precauzione," winning warm applause from the thoroughly convivial audience.

John Brownlee sang the important Figaro role with accustomed ease and grace. His voice was consistently good and he makes a handsome Barber, to whom Rosina might conceivably pour out her secrets. His clowning, however, was far overshadowed by such clever competition.

Last night's delighted audience had a pleasant surprise in store as Bruno Landi's beautiful tenor voice soared forth in the first act melody, "Down With Her Rosy Mantel," his serenade to Rosina. The singer was convincing in the role of the count and won a warm hand at curtain call time.

Wilfred Engelman, who seems to open every Met presentation, sang well in his first act solo His sonorous voice was in good condition and his acting was as always tops. Petina as the ridiculous maid, Berta, was superb. She also possesses keen dramatic sense. One would have liked to see more of both these young singers

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