[Met Performance] CID:141630
Die Zauberflöte {99} Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 04/24/1946.

(Review)


Cleveland, Ohio
April 24, 1946
In English


DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE {99}

Pamina..................Jarmila Novotna
Tamino..................Charles Kullman
Queen of the Night......Mimi Benzell
Sarastro................Ezio Pinza
Papageno................Hugh Thompson
Papagena................Lillian Raymondi
Monostatos..............John Garris
Speaker.................Wellington Ezekiel
First Lady..............Regina Resnik
Second Lady.............Maxine Stellman
Third Lady..............Anna Kaskas
Genie...................Marita Farell
Genie...................Mona Paulee
Genie...................Thelma Altman
Priest..................Richard Manning
Priest..................Louis D'Angelo
Guard...................Emery Darcy
Guard...................William Hargrave

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

Review of J. Dorsey Callaghan in the Cleveland Free Press

MAJOR VOICE IS MISCAST

Met's "The Magic Flute" Succeeds in Mediocrity

Mozart's "The Magic Flute" was presented by the Metropolitan Opera Co. Wednesday night at the Public Auditorium
The performance, it must be admitted, was well balanced as to singers, if mediocrity is established as the criterion. Once that is accepted, it may be reported that the opera was a success.

There was but one voice of major proportions in the cast, and it was so badly miscast as to become almost negligible.

It is obvious that arias such as "Within These Holy Portals" and "O Issis and Osiris" were never written for any voice other than the most profound basso.

Yet the opera management saw fit to draw upon Ezio Pinza for the part. There are very few singers who can measure up to Pinza in a basso cantante role.

Thus, it was particularly distressing to have him placed in such a position as that of Sarastro.

Pinza, nevertheless, scored a tremendous hit, due partly to his consummate knowledge of the Mozart idiom and to his boundless musical intelligence which can salvage a performance from any situation.

The only one who was comfortably cast was Charles Kullman, whose Tamino is always one to be reckoned with. His singing was vigorous and authentic and his diction was perfection itself.

Hugh Thompson's Papageno was interpreted so broadly as to approach burlesque, although his voice was pleasing. It has that rather dry quality that is one of the demands of the part.

Mimi Benzell, the Queen of the Night of the opera, just did not have enough voice to encompass the tremendous difficulties of the part.

The "Vengeance" aria, while sung with acceptable intonation, lacked the flooding power that its melodramatic content demands.

Jarmila Novotna, who sang the role of Pamina, delivered her lines in a voice of noticeable nasal quality. She is beauty itself in her stage presence and from a histrionic viewpoint, was ideally cast as Kullman's opposite number.

Bruno Walter directed a rather uneven orchestral performance. The opera is fortunate in having one of the most sumptuous settings in the whole Metropolitan repertoire.

Viewed as a spectacle alone, it was one of the week's outstanding events.



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