[Met Performance] CID:1390
United States Premiere
La Gioconda {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/20/1883.
 (United States Premiere)
(Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 20, 1883
United States Premiere


LA GIOCONDA {1}
Ponchielli-Boito

La Gioconda.............Christine Nilsson
Enzo....................Roberto Stagno
Laura...................Emmy Fursch-Madi
Barnaba.................Giuseppe Del Puente
Alvise..................Franco Novara
La Cieca................Sofia Scalchi
Zune...................Achille Augier
Ispo...................Amadeo Grazzi
Steersman...............Giuseppe Barberis
Singer..................Ludovico Contini
Dance...................Malvina Cavalazzi

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi

Director................Mr. Corani
Director................Mr. Abbiati
Set Designer............Charles Fox, Jr.
Set Designer............William Schaeffer
Set Designer............Gaspar Maeder
Set Designer............Mr. Thompson
Costume Designer........D. Ascoli
Costume Designer........Henry Dazian

Roberto Stagno repeated "Cielo e mar"

La Gioconda received twelve performances this season.


Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Times

The general presentation of "La Gioconda" was more commendable for evenness than for the startling effectiveness of any one personation. A cast enlisting the services of Mme. Christine Nilsson, Mme. Scalchi, Mme. Fursch-Madi, and Signori Stagno, Del Puente, and Novara could scarcely fail to give satisfaction, and did not last night. Yet the impression of the opera might have been heightened. Mme. Nilsson, who will undoubtedly "grow into" La Gioconda, is not yet at her best in the part. She was, last evening, somewhat deficient in warmth of voice and in breadth of style; the role, in fact, is intended for a prima donna "dramatica," and Mme. Nilsson does not belong to that order of songstresses. In the duet with Mme. Fursch-Madi, in the second act, she was distinctly overweighted when the contrary effect was intended by the composer. Whenever pure feeling was required Mme. Nilsson was more than equal to the demand, as shown by her aria in the last act and by many delicate and expressive passages during the evening. The leonine phrases of the character were, however, beyond her reach. Mme. Fursch-Madi's performance of Laura was not very animated, but, vocally, very telling. Mme. Scalchi lent the never-failing charm of her voice to the plaintive measure of La Cieca, and she was heartily applauded. The part of Enzo is a thankless one, but a tenor with a more agreeable voice than Signor Stagno's could accomplish more with it than Signor Stagno did. Still, his romance in the third [sic] act was encored, and his highest tones were always greeted with delight. Signor Del Puente portrayed Barnaba in brighter colors than was expected, but supplied a good performance, vocally and dramatically. Signor Novara was a competent Alvise. It only remains to say that the orchestra was in splendid form, the chorus tolerably steady, and the stage attire beautiful and appropriate. Through defective stage management, however, the vessel act was not fired, nor did it sink. In this same act the boy's voices in the sailors' chorus were dispensed with, and a contrast was lost. Parsimony could scarcely have suggested their elimination, and we trust they will be heard when "La Gioconda" is given for the second time. The opera was listened to by a numerous audience, and the applause was generous and frequent.



Review by Henry Krehbiel, New York Tribune:

The opera was given in a surprisingly brilliant manner, considering that the performance was the fruit of nine days' labor. Signor Novara was the only one of the principals who did not reach the plane where his abilities usually move. This was owing to an indisposition which made it questionable early in the day whethere he would be able to sing at all. Of Signor Stagno's Enzo we can only say that it had as little character as his impersonations generally, and his singing throughout was marked by the vicious traits that have characterized his work this seaosn. With an electrcial high note at the end of his romance in the second act he, however, won an enthusiastic recall. Mme. Nilsson has in Gioconda a part that enables her to display her strong tragic powers in an admirable light. She did not slight it in any respect and kept the audience in a state of almost painful excitement by the vivid manner in which she depicted the suffereings of the street singer. Mme. Fursch-Madi, Mme. Scalchi and Signor Del Puente all added to their representations as sterling artists.



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