[Met Performance] CID:139630
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {196} Purdue University Hall of Music, Lafayette, Indiana: 04/23/1945.


Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University, Hall of Music
April 23, 1945


Figaro..................Frank Valentino
Rosina..................Patrice Munsel
Count Almaviva..........Bruno Landi
Dr. Bartolo.............Salvatore Baccaloni
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Doris Doe
Fiorello................John Baker
Sergeant................Richard Manning

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.]

[The National Anthem was sung before the performance. In the lesson scene Patrice Munsel sang Proch's "Theme and Variations"]

Review of Walter Whitworth in an unidentified Perdue, Indiana newspaper

Opera Draws 5,500 at Purdue

"Barber of Seville'"Given by Metropolitan

The Hall of Music at Purdue University held 5,500 listeners Monday night when the Metropolitan Opera Association presented "The Barber of Seville" in the huge auditorium. It was the first appearance of the "Met" in the university's new building. The 5,500 were good listeners, too, and even if they didn't hear the best performance of "The Barber of Seville" in the world, they at least heard a pretty good performance.

To be sure, any performance of the Rossini comedy that has a cast including Salvatore Baccaloni and Ezio Pinza is certain to be lively, once the second act curtain rises, Baccaloni is as apt a buffoon as the opera stage has seen in many a season. Unlike most buffoons, he is, in addition, an excellent singer. He is a thorough artist in his field of broad comedy, a comedy that has point and pith, yet seldom impinges on extravagant farce. As the extraordinarily rotund Dr. Bartolo, wearing a costume that generously displayed a vivid red waistcoat (which somehow or other, heightened the drollery), Baccaloni breathed into the traditionally improbable plot of comic opera a healthy breath of fun.

Pinza, too, is an apt comic, quieter in method, subtler in suggestion, admirable foil to Baccaloni's generous strokes. And there is his voice to deepen the impression of gesture and action. It is one of the great voices of today. More than magnificent in quality, it is vehicle for every color, every nuance the singer can command. The famous "Calumnia" aria was a masterpiece.

Young Patrice Munsel was the Rosina, a charming, attractive young woman who has a long way to go before she can attain the artistry and ease of some of those earlier Rosinas one remembers so well. She undoubtedly looks more like Rosina than her plumper sisters of another day, but her voice is poorly schooled, uneven in scale and uneven in texture. Bruno Landi's Count of Almaviva was vocally adequate. Francesco Valentino was a somewhat sober, repressed Figaro; not the barber of mischievous pranks.

Wilfred Pelletier conducted the orchestra to good purpose, but the principal singers didn't heed his direction too carefully in rapid ensemble scenes, most of which were a bit ragged. The opera wasn't one of the "Met's" best efforts.

A good many Indianapolis folk drove to Lafayette in the rain (and drove home again in the fog), proving by the effort they made, one suspects, that they would triply welcome a first-rate opera house on their "home grounds."

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).