[Met Performance] CID:139240
Don Giovanni {121} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/20/1945.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 20, 1945


Don Giovanni............Ezio Pinza
Donna Anna..............Florence Kirk
Don Ottavio.............Charles Kullman
Donna Elvira............Eleanor Steber
Leporello...............Salvatore Baccaloni
Zerlina.................Nadine Conner
Masetto.................Mack Harrell
Commendatore............Nicola Moscona

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

Review of Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Metropolitan Opera Presents "Don Giovanni" at Academy

Mozart's classic "Don Giovanni" returned to the stage of the Academy of Music after an absence of three years when the Metropolitan Opera Association presented it last night before a large audience.

It was hardly a memorable performance, but rather a well-planned, intelligent one under the masterly baton of Bruno Walter, who certainly knows how a Mozart opera should sound. Despite the presence of Mr. Walter and his impressive distinction as a Mozart conductor, the evening never seemed to really take hold and during many stretches apathy and routine reigned.

The cast was interesting. Ezio Pinza was, as he has been since the opera was revived in 1930, the Don Giovanni of the evening. His performance was a carbon copy of the man he has given here before. For one spectator, it is still lacking in true aristocratic feeling. The Don, as Mr. Pinza depicts him, is merely a happy-go-lucky, rascally bounder, nothing more.

At Mr. Pinza's side during most of the evening was the rotund, finely articulated Leporello of Salvatore Baccaloni, who on this occasion seemed to find himself in various vocal difficulties during the Catalogue aria, which was better acted than sung.

Florence Kirk, Eleanor Steber and Nadine Conner were all new in the roles of Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Zerlina

Miss Kirk sang Donna Anna coolly and competently. She made an extremely picturesque figure of the great lady, but the dramatic fiber of the role was only partially realized. The flame of inspiration, the tragic accents of the great recitatives were missing. So were the torrential outbursts of the Vengeance aria, which turned out to be a pretty tame affair. Miss Kirk has a voice of ample breadth, but her tones lack concentration and energy and are apt to sound both spread and shallow. Her florid passages were excellent and among the best vocal things of the evening.

Miss Steber's lyric soprano is not well suited to the cruel intervals and dramatic lunges of Donna Elvira's music. Though she sang with unflagging sincerity and zeal, the strain was often apparent and resulted in the hardening of her tones. Some phrases were very well achieved, but others were strident and rigid. She made Donna Elvira a very real personality, however.

Miss Conner really came off the best of three ladies. As the flirtatious Zerlina, hers is just the style and voice for the music and she has a charming appearance. The "Batti, batti" and "Vedrai carino" were sung with firm bright tones which carried well, and it was a pleasure to hear the scale passages at the end of the former aria so well articulated.

Not so much can be said for Charles Kullman's scales in the "Il mio tesore" aria. They were nebulous and the tenor left out notes whenever he found the going difficult which was often. Mr. Kullman was not at his happiest last night, but he did succeed in making a manly, sympathetic figure of Don Ottavio, with a distinction of deportment quite lacking in the opera's central figure.

Mack Harrell was a satisfactory Masetto, but Nicola Moscona's voice was far too lyric and lacking in weight for the ponderous measures of the Commendatore. He was quite ineffective.

The Urban scenery, though still able to create many pleasing effects, is beginning to look decidedly shabby.

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