[Met Performance] CID:144070
Lucia di Lammermoor {224} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/21/1947.


Metropolitan Opera House
February 21, 1947


Lucia...................Patrice Munsel
Edgardo.................Ferruccio Tagliavini
Enrico..................Hugh Thompson, Act I
Enrico..................Frank Valentino, Act II, III
Raimondo................Giacomo Vaghi
Normanno................Lodovico Oliviero
Alisa...................Thelma Votipka
Arturo..................Thomas Hayward

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

[Valentino, delayed by a snowstorm, was replaced by Hugh Thompson in Act I.]

Review of Robert Bagar in the World-Telegram

New Italian Tenor Wins Met Audience in "Lucia"

Regarding audience reaction, Italian opera seems to be having a renaissance at the Metropolitan. The house is always crowded, for that matter, whatever the show. But only those performances in which the new Metropolitan tenor, Ferrucio Tagliavini, sings, bring back memories of the enthusiasms and partisanships of old.

Last night was another example when Mr. Tagliavini appeared as Edgar in "Lucia di Lammermoor" for the first time here. The applause that greeted him on his entrance was like a torrent suddenly breaking loose, and the noisy demonstration bounced up again every time he sang. Could be there was a claque - perish the thought. But the shouts and cheers came from every part of the auditorium. There just couldn't be that big a claque.

Baritone Holds Up Opera

By an odd quirk of chance, a new twist in casting brought forward two baritones for the part of Henry Ashton. The first was Hugh Thompson, who appeared only in the [first] act. The second was the originally scheduled Francesco Valentino, who had been delayed in Valley Stream. L. I.. by a Long Island railroad tie-up. In addition, the performance was held up 15 minutes, while everybody waited for Mr. Valentino to arrive.

M. Tagliavini sang as well as he had done in "La Bohème," at his debut. Moreover, he displayed quite a bit of temper and temperament, as the harried lover. There was passion in his singing and in his movements, as he stalked up and down the stage in the wedding scene. His accents were fiery and proud, and - thanks be - he did not grasp his sword with every note he delivered. Some of the chorus did, though, and in tempo.

Proves His Mettle

The style and diction of Mr. Tagliavini's singing were commendable, with the exception that he nestled fondly in some especially melodic phrases. This was not the easy-going poet of Puccini, but the excitable and often aggressive hero of Donizetti. And, in so far as this reporter is concerned, he has proved his mettle in two entirely different forms of Italian operatic song.

The heroine, Lucia, fell to Patrice Munsel, who was obviously in poor voice. She sang the aria "Regnava nel silienzio" with a good deal of understanding, even feeling, although her middle tones were buzzy and she sat on a trill which was particularly edgy. She has lost nothing of her poise, however. And I still think she is enormously talented for the stage, yet I wonder whether that would be the operatic stage.

Both Baritones Effective

Mr. Thompson acquitted himself well in the brief opportunity given him. Mr. Valentino was a bulwark of vocal and histrionic effectiveness. Appearing as Alice, Thelma Votipka took the soprano honors for the evening. And Thomas Hayward made much of the Sposinio's part. He acted well and delivered his lines with considerable gusto. The others were Giacomo Vaghi, as Raymond, and Lodovico Oliviero as Norman.

Cesare Sodero's conducting was scarcely ever hurried. He maintained a good balance between the singers and the orchestra most of the time. Only once did he cover up one of them, Miss Munsel, who - at that point - probably needed it.

No review of this opera would be complete without mentioning the sextet. Well it was sung.

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