[Met Performance] CID:138200
Norma {47} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/15/1944.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 15, 1944

NORMA {47}
Bellini-F. Romani

Norma...................Zinka Milanov
Pollione................Frederick Jagel
Adalgisa................Jennie Tourel
Oroveso.................Norman Cordon
Flavio..................Alessio De Paolis
Clotilde................Thelma Votipka

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

Director................Lothar Wallerstein
Designer................Joseph Urban

Norma received six performances this season.

Review of Noel Straus in The New York Times


Milanov Shows to Advantage in Title Role - Tourel and Cordon Also Please

Bellini's "Norma" received its first performance of the season last night at the Metropolitan Opera House. The presentation was smooth, had atmosphere and vitality and ranked among the most commendable achievements the company has offered during the season's [first] weeks.

To cast Bellini's masterpiece in a manner fully worthy of the score is no longer a possibility. But under existing conditions, the many admirers of this opera had little right to complain about the personnel chosen for this latest hearing of it. For the chances are that more rewarding vocalism than was put forth by the artists on this occasion is unlikely to grace the work at the present time.

Zinka Milanov, who assumed the exacting name part, was in her best vocal condition and accomplished some of the most completely satisfying singing of her career at the Opera House to date. She delivered the "Casta diva" in pure limpid tones of uncommon beauty of timbre and outlined its ornamental phrases with grace and dexterity. Equally admirable was her work in the duets, "Sola fur; tiva" and "Mira Norma," and in all of the more lyric music allotted her. The voice rarely wandered from pitch and it was only occasionally that it lost its moorings, as in the rapid coloratura passages of the "Ah, bello, a me ritorno," in an otherwise decidedly praiseworthy negotiation of the part.

Although Jennie Tourel has a rather light voice for Adalgisa, her singing throughout the evening was unmatched by any other member of the cast in perfection of vocal line, sensitivity and expressiveness. Her tones blended perfectly with Miss Milanov's in the "Mira Norma" and elsewhere and were projected with exceptional musicality and intelligence. Her acting was sympathetic and forceful.

Frederick Jagel sang with fervor, though his voice lacks the quality asked of Pollione in this opera. Some of his most pleasing singing was done in his [first] solo and some of the least commendable in the second act trio.

Norman Cordon's Oroveso was histrionically impressive and he sang well except in those measures where the music lay too high for him, while Thelma Votipka and Alessio De Paolis made the most of their respective roles of Clotilde and Flavio. The chorus worked with zeal. Cesare Sodero provided able orchestral support and the stage pictures were effective in each of the scenes.

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