[Met Performance] CID:143820
Il Trovatore {230} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/27/1947.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 27, 1947


IL TROVATORE {230}
Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Jussi Björling
Leonora.................Stella Roman
Count Di Luna...........Frank Valentino
Azucena.................Margaret Harshaw
Ferrando................Giacomo Vaghi
Ines....................Maxine Stellman
Ruiz....................Lodovico Oliviero
Gypsy...................John Baker

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


Review of Irving Kolodin in the New York Sun:

Since one high C from a tenor is considered a valid return on an operagoer's investment, the audience at last night's performance of "Il Trovatore" at the Metropolitan could consider itself twice rewarded. Jussi Björling provided the tones (and ringing ones they were) in "Di quella pira." which Manrico sings as the soprano, consumed with envy, looks for a place to hide, and his mother, about to be consumed offstage, waits patiently at the stake.

If truth be known, Björling was an even better singer in the preceding, much quieter "Ah! si, ben mio." The long line of Verdi's melody was beautifully fashioned, with ample breath, and the nobly mellow vocal quality which marked this as one of the Swedish tenor's more distinguished evenings at the opera. He did not disdain a pianissimo now and then, paid occasional attention to the conductor and other members of the ensemble, often behaving like the well-bred singer he can be when that is his mood. If his youthful adherents cannot follow their idol's lead in this respect, perhaps the Metropolitan would be wise to follow the "over 21" regulation recently established for another singer of some fame.

Nobody else in the cast had quite the easy time of it that Björling did, nor did the audience listening to them. Stella Roman retuned after an intermittent indisposition and sang a Leonora of dramatic force and good vocal quality at full voice. At other levels she had difficulties with pitch and production. Margaret Harshaw, conversely, had no problem in pouring forth all the volume of sound that Azucena's music could absorb, but a want of variety in her tones, plus a woefully limited range of dramatic resource, made this young American's gypsy a little more than kind, and less than kin. The excellent artistry of Francesco Valentino embellished the role of Count di Luna when his voice lacked richness and Giacomo Vaghi sang a robust Ferrando. Cesare Sodero had one of his indecisive nights of now taking a tempo from Björling and now giving him one. Turn about is fair play, says one adage; but too many cooks spoil the broth, too (especially the devil's broth which is "Trovatore.")



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