[Met Performance] CID:1460
Il Trovatore {3} Boston Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts: 12/28/1883.


Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Theatre
December 28, 1883

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Roberto Stagno
Leonora.................Alwina Valleria
Count Di Luna...........Giuseppe Kaschmann
Azucena.................Sofia Scalchi
Ferrando................Achille Augier
Ines....................Imogene Forti
Ruiz....................Amadeo Grazzi
Messenger...............not performed
Gypsy...................not performed

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi

Review in the Evening Transcript:


The third night of Mr. Abbey's opera season at the Boston Theatre witnessed a presentation of "Il Trovatore." Time was when this, one of the most characteristic of Verdi's dramas, was sure of a crowded house. On more than one occasion it has saved a season from disaster. Once upon a time there was organized a company to give some of Wagner's operas through the United States. It came to Boston, and empty benches and an exhausted treasury were gradually driving the manager to despair, when in a happy moment some one said "Il Trovatore." The hint was acted upon, and the bloody, red-hot tale of boiled gypsies and mixed-up babies recovered for the manager the profit that had been lost to him by representations of stores of knightly valor and woman's sacrifice, and all that happed within a very few years. Now it seems that the current of popular affection has been changed. The audience last night appeared on a rough estimate to be about two-thirds the size of that on Wednesday night, or still further reduction from that of the night before, when a possible three-quarters house was gathered. Why should this be? The only explanation that presents itself is that the work is hackneyed, for it cannot in fairness be said that the public is weary of Verdi. Not even Wagner has killed all liking for the strong inventions with which the Italian master has furnished the lyric stage. The comparatively small house of last night, in spite of the really strong cast given to the opera was not the first proof that has been offered here of a falling-off in the public esteem of "Il Trovatore." Perhaps managers of operatic enterprises will some time learn that it is necessary, in order to command a continuously liberal patronage, to turn the barrel over occasionally, and give some of the old favorites for a change. Then in a few years the works which are now hackneyed will have the merit of comparative freshness.

The performance was a series of disappointments, but they were all of the most agreeable sort. To begin with Mme. Valleria, who made on this occasion her first appearance in the current season: Her first efforts showed that her voice had been affected by the very dangerous atmospheric changes of the week, more especially in its upper tones. But very soon the slight cloudiness disappeared. The entire part was sung with a constant earnestness, tempered by a refined judgment, so that as a result we had the rare experience of a Leonora in whom the graces of life had a place. Altogether the interpretation was very beautiful and satisfying, and in it were included many details which really deserve particular mention because of their peculiar excellence. But more than this general acknowledgment is not practicable. The Azucena of Mme. Scalchi was the strongest piece of the work she has yet presented to her Boston admirers. The revengeful gypsy woman was depicted by her with a force and picturesqueness that left nothing wanting. Even certain of her vocal characteristics which in some cases appearing as blemishes might have to be condoned in view of a fine effect otherwise produced were here instrumental in emphasizing the vigor of the impersonation. Signor Stagno was one of the agreeable disappointments referred to above. His first aria, the serenade, was sung in such a mixed style that promised anything but continued pleasure for the listener. But as the evening wore on he steadily rose in favor and sang delightfully in many respects. In artistic feeling his performances were very rich, the aria, "Ah, si ben mio" being given with a happy combination of force and grace. Sig. Kaschmann is to be noted as the last in the catalogue of disappointments. Singing at first in the vicious style, so much affected by opera singers, aptly described as a "wobble," by degrees his execution grew firmer, and his last and least important efforts were the most satisfactory in results, because of their comparative smoothness in effect.

The chorus of male voices did two bits in better style than has yet been even hinted at in performances of the opera here - the quick piano movement in the first scene, "Sull' oro die tetti," and the portions of the concerted movement in the second act beginning, "Ardir! Andiam!" The charming conventionalities of the stage management of the piece were all represented with fine effect.

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