[Met Performance] CID:146490
Tosca {279} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/26/1947.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 26, 1947

TOSCA {279}

Tosca...................Pia Tassinari
Cavaradossi.............Ferruccio Tagliavini
Scarpia.................Alexander Sved
Sacristan...............Melchiorre Luise
Spoletta................Lodovico Oliviero
Angelotti...............Lorenzo Alvary
Sciarrone...............George Cehanovsky
Shepherd................Irene Jordan
Jailer..................Lawrence Davidson

Conductor...............Giuseppe Antonicelli

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun

Tassinari Makes Debut in "Tosca" With Tagliavini

Ensemble opera, something of a novelty at the Metropolitan, made a surprising appearance in last night's "Tosca." Or perhaps it is not so surprising, since Pia Tassinari was the Tosca, making her debut opposite her famous husband, Ferrucio Tagliavini. If you cannot have good ensemble when the leading pair can practice at home to their heart's content, when can you have it?

Another factor, too, was the overflow audience, which had bought its tickets days in advance and was not to be denied its pleasure by such a mere matter as a record storm. Having defied the blizzard, they were thoroughly disposed to be a part of the proceedings. This they were vociferously, sometimes with cause and sometimes, one suspected, only because they wanted to be.

A worthy artist is Mme. Tassinari, with a dramatic gift of a singular order, and a vocal one of some distinction, if not particularly for this role. One can understand its attraction for her, since she makes a vibrant person of Floria Tosca, and a grand passion rather than a passing fancy of her attachment to Cavaradossi. But one wonders if the whole effort is worthwhile, since she lacks the top tones to work comfortably in "Vissi d'arte." For what is a Tosca without a triumphant delivery of this scene? There is real quality in her lower voice, which was consistently used with skill, brains and a good deal of pictorial magnetism; in another role it might well support her characterization for a whole evening.

Tagliavini's first Cavaradossi will have many successors, one is sure; but they are likely to be sung with more gusto, force and enthusiasm than he summoned to make the advent of his wifely partner truly notable. He, too, is better suited by vocal nature to other things, but he built a dramatic fire with his voice and actions which melted one's resistance. There was fervent beauty in his "Recondita Armonia" and "E Lucevan e stella"; but if other current tenors can match this (a doubtful assumption) few can provide the temperament, dash and flair which made his painter an artist in fact, as well as in character.

A proper dramatic balance was provided by the forceful, superbly acted Scarpia of Alexander Sved. His voice did not support his intentions as consistently as one might have preferred, but there was dramatic truth in everything he did, and a large assertive line to the whole conception. He prefers to ignore the "Te Deum" procession in the church until virtually the last moment, a dramatic lapse oddly out of keeping with the otherwise careful detail of his part. Giuseppe Antonicelli, the conductor, may be set down as, in a physical sense, a non-conductor, since he failed to convey to the orchestra much of the electricity generated on stage.

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