[Met Performance] CID:137320
Verdi Requiem Mass {29} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/28/1944.


Metropolitan Opera House
March 28, 1944

Verdi: REQUIEM MASS {29}

Soloist.................Zinka Milanov
Soloist.................Kerstin Thorborg
Soloist.................Charles Kullman
Soloist.................Nicola Moscona

Conductor...............Bruno Walter

Verdi Requiem Mass received one performance this season.

Review of Oscar Thompson in the Sun


Verdi's towering "Manzoni Requiem" was presented at the Metropolitan Opera House last night for benefit of the American Red Cross. The auditorium was well filled and there were standees, indicating that a tidy sum had been realized. Applause after each of two parts into which the work was divided bore witness to the enthusiasm with which the performance was received.

Bruno Walter conducted, standing where, in other times, Luigi Mancinelli, Arturo Toscanini, Giulio Setti and Tullio Serafin had stood in directing other performances of the "Requiem" Mass by the opera company. The chorus, the orchestra, and soloists - Zinka Milanov, Kerstin Thorborg, Charles Kullman and Nicola Moscona - were all of the Metropolitan.

Mr. Walter's reading was refined and affectionate. There was less of dramatic thrust than we have known in performances led by Mr. Toscanini, but, in his different way, he gave us equally the musical essence of the Italian composer's vast musical fresco of the terrors and the supplications of the Last Judgment.

The Metropolitan chorus sang with precision and an abundance of feeling. Though quite generally its fortes were of only moderate power, and much of the time the sonorities were of mezzo-forte or below, the impact of the first "Dies Irae" was altogether stirring. In the "Tuba Mirum," "Rex Tremendae," "Lacrymosa," "Sanctus." "Agnus Dei" and the final "Libera Me," the choral balances were effectively contrived, but at the [beginning] of the "Requiem" the singing was too soft to carry clearly. The orchestra, in a pit raised almost to the floor level, played unobtrusively well.

The contribution of the solo quartet was distinctive. Mme. Milanov has sung the "Libera Me" notably well in the past. Last night her delivery of the entire soprano part was marked by beauty of tone and authority of style. Her voice was of particular appeal in the "Lacrymosa," against the singing of the chorus. Mme. Thorborg sang with warmth and surety. The two women's voices were effectively contrasted in the octave passages of the "Agnus Dei," one of the most striking original sections of the score. Save for a tendency to be lachrymose in some of his attacks, Mr. Kullman realized the "Ingemisco" with skill and appeal. Mr. Moscona sang smoothly and in good Verdi style.

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