[Met Performance] CID:136780
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {190} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/7/1944.


Metropolitan Opera House
February 7, 1944


Figaro..................John Brownlee
Rosina..................Bidú Sayao
Count Almaviva..........Charles Kullman
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Irra Petina
Fiorello................John Baker
Sergeant................John Dudley

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

[In the Lesson Scene Sayao sang Bel raggio from Semiramide.]

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

"Barber of Seville"

Bidu Sayao Is Heard in Role of Rosina

Monday night's presentation of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" at the Metropolitan Opera House was a far more exhilarating one than the season's first performance of Rossini's masterpiece. There were four changes in the cast, all of them beneficial to the unfolding of the work. One might object here and there to a too farcical treatment of some of the episodes, but on the whole this was a most diverting evening which brought with it a good deal of first-rate singing and acting.

Miss Sayao's Rosina is an utterly entrancing impersonation from both the vocal and histrionic aspects. She is charming to gaze upon, especially in the second act, where her costume is more becoming than in the succeeding one, and there is not a false note in her characterization. Her singing was expert in its negotiation of the highly florid music which Rossini has penned for this role, meticulously clean, rhythmically incisive and unfailingly pure in intonation. Her most brilliant vocalism was vouchsafed in the lesson scene for which she chose "Bel raggio lusingher" from the same composer's "Semiramide."

The grotesquely made up Don Basilio of Mr. Pinza, whose "Calumnia" aria was superbly sung, despite a final top tone that eluded the true pitch, the inimitable Dr. Bartolo of Mr. Baccaloni, the mirth-provoking Berta of Miss Petina, along with Miss Sayao's Rosina, were delineations which could scarcely be bettered. The by-play between Messrs. Pinza and Baccaloni in the "Calumny" scene was a highly accomplished bit of fooling.

On a somewhat less impressive level, were the Figaro of Mr. Brownlee and the Almaviva of Mr. Kullman. The barytone's portrayal of the volatile Barber is competently sung, although his voice is hardly the ideal one in texture for music of this kind, and his exuberance does not come as naturally to him as does that of his Latin associates in the cast. The same strictures apply to Mr. Kullman's Almaviva, but I noted with pleasure that he has discarded his bow-legged reeling in the scene of his assumed drunkenness. Vocally the tenor's work was uneven, gaining fortunately in freedom of production after the first act in which his arias were throatily delivered. Mr. Pelletier gave a consistently animated account of the orchestral score and held a firm hand over the stage procedure.

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