[Met Performance] CID:136190
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {188} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/11/1943.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 11, 1943


Figaro..................Frank Valentino
Rosina..................Lily Pons
Count Almaviva..........Charles Kullman
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Nicola Moscona
Berta...................Thelma Altman
Fiorello................Mack Harrell
Sergeant................John Dudley

Conductor...............Wilfred Pelletier

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Joseph Urban

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received three performances this season.

[In the Lesson Scene Pons sang Deh torna mio bene (Proch).]

Review in the New York Herald Tribune

Moscona Is Hit By Auto, but He Fills Opera Role

Basso, Ignoring Doctor's Orders, Limps on Stage to Sing at Metropolitan

Neither being knocked down by an automobile, nor a doctor's orders to remain in bed could keep Nicola Moscona, operatic basso, from singing the role of Don Basilio in last night's performance of "The Barber of Seville" at the Metropolitan Opera House. Though many persons in the audience may have observed that he was limping badly, few were aware he had been in an accident earlier in the day.

Virgilio Lazzart, who was scheduled to sing the role originally, was ill. Yesterday morning, Mr. Moscona was notified that he had been scheduled to sing, and with the intention of making final preparations, he left his home on Riverside Drive and started for the opera house. On 110th Street, near Riverside Drive, he was knocked down by an automobile.

The driver of the car took Mr. Moscona to St. Luke's Hospital at Amsterdam Avenue and 113th. A doctor, who examined him there, assured him no bones had been broken, but advised him to return home and stay in bed. Mr. Moscona went home although he remained in bed only until time to go to the opera house. At curtain time he was dressed and ready for his role.

Mr. Moscona, who is thirty-six years old, made his debut in Athens in 1928, and came to the United States in 1937. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in December of that year and appeared in his first New York recital in Carnegie Hall in March of 1938. He is married and lives at 375 Riverside Drive.

Most of the sparkle of this presentation of Rossini's masterpiece was to be found in Miss Pons's impersonation of Rosina and Mr. Baccaloni's portrayal of Don Bartolo. Miss Pons was in exceptionally fine voice, singing "Una voce poco fa" with crystalline, scintillating tones and the remainder of her music with a perfection of style which proved that she is still easily the first lady of the Metropolitan in florid song. Not only did she sing alluringly, but her acting had both unaffected charm and distinction. Mr. Baccaloni's inimitable gifts as a humorist, coupled with the easy flow of his voluminous voice made his work an unalloyed delight.

There were two new delineations - Mr. Valentino's Figaro and Mr. Kullman's Almaviva. The former sang his difficult "Largo al factotum" aria admirably, with sufficient elasticity and ringing top tones. But his was a rather lugubrious barber whose actions, while avoiding the horse-play which has ruined some performances of this opera in recent years, went to the opposite extreme and divested the role of much of its inherent vitality. Mr. Kullman disclosed a good sense of style in Almaviva's music, but his delivery of "Ecco ridente" was lusterless because of a throaty vocal production. Why Mr. Kullman thought it necessary to walk bow-leggedly in his drunken scene in the second act was not clear since the effect was not in the least amusing.
Mr. Moscona sang the "Calunia" aria resonantly although his characterization of the music master, perhaps because of his accident earlier in the day, had a tragic Monterone-like touch. Mr. Pelletier, conducting for the first time this season, was his usual capable self eliciting as much animation from the orchestra as one could expect from an aggregation of musicians which had played a long, exacting performance only a few hours before.

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