[Met Performance] CID:134360
Lucia di Lammermoor {197} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/29/1942.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 29, 1942


Lucia...................Lily Pons
Edgardo.................Jan Peerce
Enrico..................Leonard Warren
Raimondo................Norman Cordon
Normanno................John Dudley
Alisa...................Thelma Votipka
Arturo..................Alessio De Paolis

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

Review of Max De Schauensee in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Lily Pons Featured in "Lucia" by Metropolitan Opera Co.

Donizetti's one-hundred-and-seven-year-old opera, "Lucia di Lammermoor," was general manager Edward Johnson's choice for the fourth offering of the Metropolitan Opera Company's current season. It was sung before a large and unusually enthusiastic audience at the Academy of Music last night.

This was a thoroughly re-studied production, which was quite apparent as the opera progressed, for the handling of the stage crowds, the action of the principals and other details showed carefully and freshly-thoughtout direction. There was also a completely new set of scenes painted by Richard Rychtarik. These were only moderately successful. There was too much semi-obscurity, too many storm clouds in turbulent flight across gloomy skies, and besides, the whole thing was slightly on the self-conscious side. The last scene, depicting the crypt of Ravenswood castle was extremely effective, however.

No matter what is done to this opera, or how it is treated, it survives because of Donizetti's superb melodies and the many pages which bear the genuine stamp of vital, theatrical interest. There is unquestionable drama in this music. Last night it was spottily encompassed. Mme. Pons' Mad Scene and Mr. Peerce's final scene were wholly admirable, after a not too impressive start by either singer in the early acts of the opera.

Mme. Pons' tones were often edgy and sometimes astringent. Her voice has not quite the soft sheen it used to have. But the soprano can always give pleasure, because she is above all a fine musician and a stylist of unusual distinction. Her difficult Mad Scene was on the whole, admirably sung, and she still sings it transposed a whole tone upward.

Charming Stage Presence

Her duet with the flute was unusually rapid and accurate and the final F in alt achieved and sustained with assurance. Her charming stage presence is always an asset to any opera she appears in, but the gowns designed for Mme. Pons by Valentina are not always in the picture and suggest Hollywood rather than Lammermoor castle.

Mr. Peerce's Edgardo is too light vocally and not nearly forceful enough. The sextet, which was only moderately well sung, suffered through lack of volume on the part of both Mr. Peerce and Mme. Pons, and was therefore thrown out of balance.

Volume and impact were generously supplied by Leonard Warren as Lord Ashton and Norman Cordon as Raimondo. Mr. Warren, with the most sumptuous baritone voice in the company at his disposal, needs to become further acquainted with his part, which is new for him this season, but Mr. Cordon was a tower of strength all evening. The weight of his voice and the authority of his singing were qualities to be grateful for. A stupid bit of casting was that of Alessio de Paolis as the bridegroom Arturo.

Mr. de Paolis, a first-rate character actor, has neither the freshness of voice nor the pictorial appeal to grace this slight but important role. Surely the company has other tenors with young, smooth voices, who would prove acceptable in this part.

The conducting of Frank St. Leger was at all times competent.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).