[Met Performance] CID:136970
Il Trovatore {220} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/25/1944.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 25, 1944


IL TROVATORE {220}
Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Arthur Carron
Leonora.................Stella Roman
Count Di Luna...........Leonard Warren
Azucena.................Margaret Harshaw
Ferrando................Nicola Moscona
Ines....................Maxine Stellman
Ruiz....................Lodovico Oliviero
Gypsy...................John Baker

Conductor...............Cesare Sodero

Director................Herbert Graf
Set designer............Harry Horner
Costume designer........Mary Percy Schenck

Il Trovatore received three performances this season.

Review of Virgil Thomson in the Herald Tribune

The Bravura

Verdi's "Il Trovatore" is not a work of gentle lyricism like "Martha'; it is not a realistic opera like "Carmen" or "Pagliacci"; it is not an atmospheric creation like "Pélleas et Mélisande"; it is not a sentimental evocation like "La Bohème" nor is it a semi-religious celebration of racial ideals like Wagner's "Ring." It is a bravura piece, pure and simple; and that is the way it must be performed. That is the way it was clearly intended to be performed last night at the Metropolitan Opera House and whatever was lacking in the achievement of this aim is due to the fact that bravura performances are none too plentiful around here just now.

Leonard Warren, who sang the Count di Luna has a beautiful voice, a dependable manner of handling it and a fine musical style. He is in process of becoming one of the greatest singers in the world of Italian baritone roles. His work last night was in every way admirable.

Arthur Carron, on the other hand, who sang Manrico, does not have a very agreeable voice, and he is anything but master either of his own instrument or of musical phraseology. Always a faulty workman, he seems to have made no progress at all in recent years. He might have schooled himself into a sound career as a dramatic tenor, but he hasn't. His promise has, if anything, diminished.

Margaret Harshaw, who sang Azucena, has a radiantly beautiful alto voice, and she handles it with no mean skill. She is not yet completely mistress of the bravura manner; but she is an artist of sound musical instincts, as well as of sound training and, like Mr. Warren, she seems to be at the threshold of a great singing career.

Stella Roman, who sang Leonora, worries one a little more. The voice is a fine one, a very fine one; but her usage of it is full of grave faults. The chief of these is a tendency to croon. This is least bothersome in slow cantilena. In rapid passages pitch troubles develop, and always there is a dangerous wobble. Miss Roman has improved in recent seasons, but not enough either to satisfy one with her present work or to assure one of her future. Zinka Milanov, who came here with most of the same virtues and all the same faults, has made better progress toward their eradication.

There was, in short, some fine singing last night, most especially Mr. Warren's and most of Miss Harshaw's. Miss Roman was about half the time impressive. Mr. Carron was a constant disappointment. If the opera had been handled orchestrally by Cesare Sodero, who conducted, with a greater dramatic tension, the weakness of individual artists would have been less noticeable. His pacing of it, though animated, ought to have been fuller of rhythmic nonchalance, should have had more dynamic variety. It is only by the most electrical kind of direction that the bravura style, even with perfect singers, can hold the attention throughout an evening.



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