[Met Performance] CID:144480
Rigoletto {278} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/31/1947.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 31, 1947


RIGOLETTO {278}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Leonard Warren
Gilda...................Josephine Antoine
Duke of Mantua..........Ferruccio Tagliavini
Maddalena...............Lucielle Browning
Sparafucile.............Giacomo Vaghi
Monterone...............Osie Hawkins
Borsa...................Leslie Chabay
Marullo.................George Cehanovsky
Count Ceprano...........John Baker
Countess Ceprano........Maxine Stellman
Giovanna................Thelma Altman
Page....................Irene Jordan

Conductor...............Pietro Cimara

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun

TAGLIAVINI SINGS "RIGOLETTO" DUKE

Like a fire not quite successfully extinguished, opera broke out again last night in the Metropolitan. It was no slight conflagration either, for the inflammable Ferrucio Tagliavini was on hand to touch off this extra week of Holy Week performances, appearing for the first time as the Duke in "Rigoletto."

As in several other roles in which he has appeared since his first "Bohème" - Almaviva in the "Barber," Alfredo in "Traviata" and Edgardo in "Lucia" - Tagliavini was a much less consistent singer of Verdi than he was of Puccini. When he merely sang, freely and easily, as in "Parmi veder" and particularly in "La donna e mobile" and the final quartet, it was a sound to caress the ear - warm, sensuous and pliant.

However, there were a good many other moments in which Tagliavini seemed not content with the basic quality of his tones and sought either to darken them or "cover" them for greater sonority. A lot of this was inexpert and much of it ugly in sound. It would be the better part of wisdom, if he is to continue singing this role (rumor has it that he is not too keen about it) for him to sing as beautifully as he can, and let one color take care of itself. The audience that packed the seats and standing room were all for him, and outspokenly so.

If there was some dominance of liberty over license in his singing, there was no question that the acting traditions were respected, offering a Duke both libertine and licentious.

There was even more applause for a singer who came from no closer to Bologna than the Bronx, for Leonard Warren sang a Rigoletto extraordinary in power and richness. It was also a notable improvement on the quality of drama he customarily achieves. Such matters as "Cortigiani" and the "Vendetta" that concludes the third act can hardly be sung with more vigorous, compelling sound. Good things, too, can be reported about Josphine Antoine's Gilda. It is no miracle of vocalizing, but it has more body than the generality of Gildas, and a fair flurry of drama now and then. "Caro nome" was rather truncated by Miss Antoine's cadenza (a really brief affair), but she atoned with a D flat in the duet with Rigoletto and a sold D in the quartet. Martha Lipton, Giacomo Vaghi and Ossie Hawkins led the cast of associates. Pietro Cimara, conducting in place of Cesare Sodero, kept the performance in hand, even when the answering echoes from the auditorium threatened otherwise.



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