[Met Performance] CID:139500
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {195} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/11/1945.


Boston, Massachusetts
April 11, 1945


Figaro..................Frank Valentino
Rosina..................Patrice Munsel
Count Almaviva..........Bruno Landi
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Virgilio Lazzari
Berta...................Thelma Altman
Fiorello................John Baker
Sergeant................Lodovico Oliviero

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

[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 Elinor Hughes in the Boston Herald

"Il Barbiere di Siviglia"

Watching the somewhat uneven, but at its best, lively performance of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" at the Opera House last night, it seemed more than even desirable, not to say imperative, that the Metropolitan hire a competent librettist who can write an English text and so let the audience in on the jokes. Perhaps some fantastically brave soul could even cut the recitative and substitute spoken dialogues from Beaumarchais' play, but something should be done in any case, as it is all very well to laugh at gestures and stage business but it would be more fun to laugh at the speeches that you could understand. True, this might mean some revisions of casting and possibly the learning of English by the Metropolitan's Italian singers, but it would allow the audience in on the joke.

The two performances of the evening were those by Patrice Munsel, the brilliant young coloratura, who was heard here for the first time as Rosina, and by Salvatore Baccaloni, the most wonderful clown on the operatic stage today. Miss Munsel, as already observed by those who attended her appearance in "Lucia," is pretty, lively, at ease in her stage business and endowed with a voice of such agility that it leaves you breathless. She took Rosina's "Una voce poco fa" and the Proch "Theme and Variations" so easily and gaily that they even sounded easy to do, and her enjoyment and that of the audience was not marred by any sense of strain or of reaching for the high notes. For a coloratura, she also has warmth and color and never gave the impression of a marvelous but impersonal instrument at work. Mr. Baccaloni's Dr. Bartolo is robust, broadly humorous and a sheer delight - his sense of the theater can be studied by all singing as well as non-singing - actors, and his voice is powerful and easy.

Francesco Valentino's Figaro was vocally admirable, but not too well endowed with the comedy spirit, and the singer seemed more than a little nervous and kept his eye pretty continually on the prompter. Bruno Landi was unfortunately negative as Count Almavivia, neither in singing nor in personality did he have the quality required by that gay romantic. The Don Basilio of Virgilio Lazzari was pretty much clowned, but quite often funny, and he sang his famous number with good expression, and Thelma Votipka revealed good vocal capacity as the grotesque Berta. Wilfred Pelletier conducted with assurance and spirit.

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