[Met Performance] CID:139700
Lucia di Lammermoor {213} Chicago Opera House, Chicago, Illinois: 04/30/1945.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
April 30, 1945


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {213}

Lucia...................Lily Pons
Edgardo.................Jan Peerce
Enrico..................Leonard Warren
Raimondo................Nicola Moscona
Normanno................Lodovico Oliviero
Alisa...................Thelma Votipka
Arturo..................John Garris

Conductor...............Cesare Sodero

Review of Claudia Cassidy in the Chicago Daily Tribune

Lily Pons Sings 'Lucia' Before Sold Out House to Begin Week of Opera Here

The Metropolitan Opera put a welcome May basket on our doorstep last night - a week of opera with a sold out "Lucia" starring Lily Pons as the nosegay on top. As Donizetti goes in the year of our opera 1945, it was probably as good a performance as an Impresario could get together. It lacked the blazing fire of greatness - and "Lucia" can blaze if you have the incendiaries of voice and direction -- but it was well sung in its way, and Cesare Sodero's direction was invariably lucid, occasionally distinguished.

But it was Miss Pons the crowd went to hear, and it is a pleasure to report her in fine fettle after her long trips overseas. The little French coloratura looks like a princess out of a fairy tale, and her voice is a slender thread of silver which she spins into fantastically delicate designs. Sometimes you can't hear her in an emergency, such as at the climax of the "Sextet," but when she sings the "Mad Scene," particularly the gossamer drifting of the Ophelia-like "Cast on my grave a flower," she is truly as bewitching as bewitched.

As her mournful cavalier, Jan Peerce had everything but stature - of voice and person. Yet in his Lilliputian scale he sings with extraordinary skill, and with a bravura sense of theater that understands the bold outlines of music drama. His way with the wedding scene was that of a man who really believed in his promised bride, and his rage at deception struck sparks.

In the big operatic sense, of course, Leonard Warren's was the voice of the evening, a huge baritone that defies an orchestra to drown it out. Mr. Warren was no luckier than most men in making the conniving Henry anything but a stage villain, because, really that's all the man is. Mr. Moscona was a sympathetic counselor, tho not yet with the depth of voice to make the role completely his own. Miss Votipka was expert as Lucia's confidante, and Mr. Garris, who looked like the Jack of Diamonds as Bucklaw, was faintly ludicrous by intention - not as is usually the case, by inadvertence.

Both chorus and orchestra seemed shined up for the occasion and the Met's "Lucia" sets by Richard Rychtarik have everything from silver fringe intended to impersonate water flowing from a fountain, to tall staircases which Miss Pons negotiated along with the "Mad Scene." Myself, I preferred Miss Pons' designer to "Lucia's," tho perhaps that silver wedding gown is as unlikely in its own way as silver fringe for a waterfall.



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