[Met Performance] CID:146940
La Gioconda {164} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/3/1948.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 3, 1948


LA GIOCONDA {164}

La Gioconda.............Daniza Ilitsch
Enzo....................Richard Tucker
Laura...................Ris Stevens
Barnaba.................Frank Valentino
Alvise..................Nicola Moscona
La Cieca................Margaret Harshaw
Zune...................Osie Hawkins
Ispo...................Lodovico Oliviero
Monk....................Philip Kinsman
Steersman...............John Baker
Singer..................Lawrence Davidson
Singer..................Leslie Chabay
Dance...................Lorraine Ammerman
Dance...................Nina Boneck
Dance...................Josef Carmassi
Dance...................Edward Caton
Dance...................Audrey Keane
Dance...................Francesca Ludova [Last performance]
Dance...................Elissa Minet
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Alice Temkin [Last performance]
Dance...................Leon Varkas

Conductor...............Emil Cooper


Review of Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Daniza Ilitsch, Richard Tucker Impress in Met's "Gioconda"

Grand Opera, with a capital G, was heard last night at the Academy of Music as the Metropolitan featured Amiclcare Ponchielli's "La Gioconda" for the seventh offering of the season.

Whatever the faults of this long and involved work with its overstuffed and horror-laden plot, audiences are sure to be treated to an evening of grandiose sentiments and emotions set to flowing and passionate Italian melodies.

The offering of the true grand manner was last presented here by the Metropolitan in 1945 with a cast which presented Stella Roman, Bruna Castagna, Frederick Jagel, Leonard Warren and Margaret Harshaw. Miss Harshaw was the only left-over from that event in last night's cast, which included the local debuts of two important singers.

Singers Make Debut

The new singers were Daniza Ilitsch, Yugoslav dramatic soprano, who appeared as Gioconda, and Richard Tucker, New York-born tenor, who sang the soaring melodies of Enzo Grimaldo. Both artists obtained solid successes and both proved singers to be reckoned with.
Miss Ilitsch is generously proportioned and her bulky, powerful voice quite matches her physical attributes.

The new soprano, beside a truly imposing voice, has temperament and a certain convincing vividness of feeling. Her powers are on the elemental order and will undoubtedly go through a refining process and a general mellowing for Miss Ilitsch is still a young woman.

Last Act Impressive

At present, it is her temperament and size of voice which carry her along, for she is yet a very unfinished and limited actress. Grace and the revealing gesture are not among her attributes.

Mill Ititsch sang the "Suicidio" with an almost primitive abandon, which proved very effective. In fact, her entire last act (the most taxing of the opera) was a pretty impressive piece of work.

Mr. Tucker has a beautiful lyric tenor voice. His singing was full, fresh and impassioned. The celebrated "Cielo e mar" was lavishly and musically presented and won the singer an ovation from the capacity audience which had apparently not anticipated such generous gifts.

Rise Stevens as Laura

Mr. Tucker has a certain dignity and reserve of deportment which well becomes him. He seemed fully alive to the possibilities of his role, including its high ranges, upon which he poured high notes of genuine power and brilliance. It will be a pleasure to welcome this fine singer here in other roles.

"Gioconda" required six singers for major roles, and last evening found Rise Stevens singing and acting Laura with sincerity; Francesco Valentino presenting an unusually sinister and dramatic Barnaba, whose "Pescatore alfondo l'esce" was brilliantly sung. Margaret Harshaw's beautifully voiced La Cieca and Nicola Moscona's sold artistry as Alvise Badoero.

Emil Cooper was the evening's distinguished conductor, and the Dance of the Hours, though not too well presented, received its usual popular success.

Chorus and orchestra did splendid work in an evening which provided the audience with climax after climax of true operatic glamour.



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