[Met Performance] CID:137100
Aida {466} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/7/1944.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 7, 1944


AIDA {466}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Zinka Milanov
Radamès.................Kurt Baum
Amneris.................Bruna Castagna
Amonasro................Leonard Warren
Ramfis..................Nicola Moscona
King....................Lorenzo Alvary
Messenger...............John Dudley
Priestess...............Thelma Votipka
Dance...................Nina Youskevitch
Dance...................Marina Svetlova
Dance...................Monna Montes
Dance...................Robert Armstrong
Dance...................Michael Arshansky
Dance...................Alexis Dolinoff
Dance...................Leon Varkas

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

Review of Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Zinka Milanov Adds to Laurels as Metropolitan Opera's 'Aida'

Verdi's fabulous "Aida," which the Metropolitan had not brought to the Academy of Music since 1938, was once more on exhibition last night by Mr. Edward Johnson's forces, before a very large and enthusiastic audience.

On the whole it was an excellent performance, though a more closely knit stage direction is indicated. Most of the excitement last night was supplied by Zinka Milanov, who replaced the ailing Stella Roman in the title role. Mme. Milanov added extra laurels to those she had already won early this season in "Norma" and "Ballo in Maschera" with a forceful and compelling interpretation and with singing which was thrilling in its vehemence and sonority. This soprano is a woman of flaming temperament, happily oblivious of modern trends towards small-scale emotions and self-conscious understatement. Her passionate belief in what she was undertaking was clearly communicated to the audience, and the result was that they also believed. When this quality is not present, one might as well abandon the giving of grand opera.

Mme. Milanov sang the "Ritorna vincitor" with unusual dramatic sweep, and her voice cut through the wall of sound in the Triumphal Scene with electrifying effect. Her Nile Scene evolved into a creation of genuine power, granting that she at times drove her beautiful voice harder than was necessary.

Bruna Castagna, the evening's Amneris, has sung better here. Last night she sounded vocally tired and seemed often to be sparing herself. Even so, Mme. Castagna is still in firm possession of the most voluptuously beautiful contralto voice at the Metropolitan today.

The male members of the cast varied, with Leonard Warren easily taking first honors as Amonasro. This is a first-class voice in an age notorious for the lack of such luxuries.

Kurt Baum, the Radames, was not always in tune, but he possesses effective and easily produced high notes. Mr. Baum, however, just as surely lacks that subtle ingredient known as personality.

There remain the admirable Ramfis of that fine young basso, Nicola Moscona and the King of Lorenzo Alvary. Wilfred Pelletier directed the performance with an obviously practiced hand.

The scenery looked as though it had done service for Clara Louise Kellog and Italo Campanini during the gaslight era. The Metropolitan can do better scenically by Verdi's vibrant masterpiece.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).