[Met Performance] CID:138330
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {191} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/28/1944.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 28, 1944


Figaro..................Richard Bonelli
Rosina..................Patrice Munsel
Count Almaviva..........Bruno Landi
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Nicola Moscona
Berta...................Doris Doe
Fiorello................Mack Harrell
Sergeant................Richard Manning

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Joseph Urban

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received six performances this season.

[In the Lesson Scene Patrice Munsel sang L'Inutile Precauzione by Pietro Cimara. The arietta, using the words from the opera, was written in 1941 at the suggestion of Bidú Sayao.]

Review of Noel Straus in The New York Times


Young Soprano at Her Best in 'Barber of Seville' - All Roles Excellently Sung

The season's first performance of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" last night at the Metropolitan Opera House was one of the company's most consistently well-sung presentations of the winter to date. All of the roles were in capable hands and there was a grateful absence of tiny voices in the personnel. Moreover, the opera was commendably free of the slapstick sort of comedy which has disfigured it for many years at the Broadway auditorium.

The only disturbing element in the otherwise praiseworthy enfoldment was the orchestral support. Wilfred Pelletier, who conducted, started off the evening with a coarse-grained, dragged and noisy account of the overture and provided such heavy, stentorian accompaniment throughout the rest of the opera that he even managed to drown out the big ensemble at the close of the second act.

These deluges of orchestral sound had so little to do with Rossini's score that they tended to rob the whole work of its inherent scintillating, refined nature. But despite this handicap all of the artists on stage gave their best and threw themselves with admirable spirit into their respective contributions.

Special interest centered in Patrice Munsel's Rosina, a role in which she was heard for the first time. The youthful soprano found the rapid coloratura and absence of sustained music in the exacting part particularly congenial to her and accomplished the most proficient singing of her Metropolitan career so far at this latest appearance. Her passagework was admirably flexible and brilliant. For so young a singer the top tones had all the quality that could reasonably be awaited, and the lower register was fuller and more resonant than formerly. She took a resounding E in alt at the close of the excellently delivered "Una voce, poco fa," and it was only the trills in this aria and in the much abbreviated version of Proch's "Variations," interpolated in the Lesson Scene, that fell below par, for they were invariably amateurish and below pitch. As for her impersonation, it was simple and natural, which was decidedly in its favor.

Bruno Landi, who returned to the company as the Almaviva of the cast, gave a finished and deftly treated account of the [first act] Serenade and invested all of his vocal work with skill and charm. Richard Bonelli's voice is too dark for Figaro's music, and he failed to bring the needed humor and effervescence to the role, but his vocalism was expert and he sang the "Largo al factotum" in most capable style. Salvatore Baccaloni was in his best vocal state and up to his usual standard as comedian as Bartolo, while Nicola Moscona's Basilio and the Berta of Doris Doe, who made her initial appearance of the season, were both worthy of high praise.

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