[Met Performance] CID:144730
Aida {493} Civic Opera House, Chicago, Illinois: 04/25/1947.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
April 25, 1947


AIDA {493}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Daniza Ilitsch
Radamès.................Kurt Baum
Amneris.................Blanche Thebom
Amonasro................Leonard Warren
Ramfis..................Virgilio Lazzari
King....................Philip Kinsman
Messenger...............Lodovico Oliviero
Priestess...............Thelma Votipka
Dance...................Lorraine Ammerman
Dance...................Irene Hawthorne
Dance...................Elissa Minet
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Leon Varkas

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


Review of Albert Goldberg in the Chicago Tribune

Miss Thebom, Warren Stars of Met's "Aida"

When Verdi composed "Aida" he wrote a quartet of stellar parts, yet it would take a lot of thinking back to remember when the contralto and baritone completely dominated a performance as they did in the Metropolitan Opera presentation in the Civic Opera House last night. Kurt Baum was a defiantly improved Radames and Daniza Illitsch, the new Yugolsavian soprano, was an interesting Aida, but the banners belong to Blanche Thebom as Amneris and Leonard Warren as Amonasro.

Miss Thebom is an answer to an operagoer's prayer and an impresario's dream. Even in a day when youth and slender figures and fresh young voices are crowding the plush and the shrill and the overstuffed out of opera, Miss Thebom still is something of a phenomenon. Her contralto has the bright gleam that brings color and life to a phrase and she is both a beauty and an actress, one who can dominate a scene without pushing the other characters off the stage, and one who knows the value of pose and gesture. And she can wear costumes!

She is not yet completely the mistress of the grand Verdian line of melody; she has not entirely learned how to rely upon the composer for the power that is inherent in the music without advantageous assistance from the interpreter, but to such a voice and such a talent nothing should be impossible.

The grand manner of Verdian singing was the monopoly of Leonard Warren in this "Aida." His baritone soared over the triumphal scene more like the conqueror than the conquered; you had to remember back to Cesare Formichi for an adequate comparison.

Miss Illitsch is a singer whose Aida inspired more respect than affection or enthusiasm. She is a routine artist who knows her way about the stage as well as the score. Her voice is not of any grater proportions than those of other recent Aidas, and it might be heard to more advantage in a less dramatic role. It had some fine moments, notably the close of the scene with Amneris; but its evenness is not remarkable, and the high C of "O patria mia" was not without its perils.

Mr. Baum's tenor in the [first] scene was free and rounder than it has been in times past, and its respect for the pitch has improved tho it has not attained perfection in that department. Phillip Kinsman's King was a regal figure with a voice that promises royal dividends, and Virgillio Lazzari, replacing Giacomo Vaghi, as the High Priest was his old, unimprovable self.

Cesare Sodero's conducting kept the show together but was sacredly a masterpiece of pacing. The stage was constantly packed with supers, which is one way of staging "Aida" and the ballet, headed by Irene Hawthorne and Leon Varkas was as good as the conventional choreography of Boris Romanoff permitted.



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