[Met Performance] CID:147690
La Traviata {306} Matinee ed. Fair Park Auditorium, Dallas, Texas: 04/10/1948.


Dallas, Texas
April 10, 1948 Matinee

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Licia Albanese
Alfredo.................Jan Peerce
Germont.................Frank Valentino
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Alessio De Paolis
Baron Douphol...........George Cehanovsky
Marquis D'Obigny........Osie Hawkins
Dr. Grenvil.............Clifford Harvuot
Annina..................Lucielle Browning
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Marina Svetlova

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

Review of John William Rogers in the Dallas Times-Herald

"La Traviata" Performance Rates With Best for Met

A matinee audience that filled every seat and corner of the Fair Park Auditorium heard "La Traviata" Saturday afternoon. The coolness of the night before still lingered in the recesses the hall - and if a considerable portion of the male contingent sensibly removed its coats, the temperature considerately stayed within reason and scarcely intruded at all upon the consciousness of those who had come sensibly dressed.

The production, one of the Metropolitan's most frequently offered stand-bys, was not only colorful in its stage pictures but was memorably opulent musically, both as to soloist and the choral work.

All the singers in the cast were graciously endowed, but it became distinctly Licia Albanese's afternoon. As the wayward Violetta, she was a proper operatic prima donna wearing one sensationally lively costume after another and moving in a broadly considered interpretation of this heroine who loved not wisely but too well, she must have been visually effective to the last row of the balcony. It was with her rich voice, however, that she painted the real portrait of Violetta with a subtlety of phrase and color constantly playing in her full luscious tones. And she passed from the gay figure of the hall-world to the dying girl who was to have one final ecstatic hour with her beloved with a simple sincerity that was poignantly appealing.

Peerce Real Musician

Jan Peerce, who sang her young lover, Alfredo, is certainly among the most gifted operatic stars in America. To one of the finest tenor voices he has added an arresting musicianship. Vocally, he brought an aggressive authority to the music, and the audience found his duets with Madame Albanese particularly thrilling. But there is no use trying to disguise the fact that in looks he becomes an exceedingly mature Alfredo. In opera we are accustomed to this sort of license and opera sophisticates consider it bad musical manners, even to take notice of such things if the singer gives the illusion of the part in his singing. But for all the rewards in his work of the afternoon, and there were many, vocally as well as in appearance, Peerce came somewhat wide of the mark so far as evoking the delicate lyricism of a shy, then burning, first love. The role was sung with a force that suggested the singer was past master of it and now found himself somewhat beyond it in his own musical outlook, really concerned with parts of more heroic proportions. Certainly the tones he evoked were hardly those that by any stretch of the imagination could have been characteristic of a young man still taking commands from his father.

Valentino Acts Part Well

As for the father, Francesco Valentino, both in looks and in the mental approach that had gone into the musical creation of the elder Germont, achieved the most believable figure in the whole performance. Thelma Votipka revealed a loveliness of voice so clearly in the few passages given to Violetta's friend, Flora, that one regretted sincerely there was not more for her to do. George Cehanovsky was highly successful in suggesting a real aristocrat as Baron Duphol, and Lucielle Browning as Violetta's maid was both comely and satisfying.

Clifford Harvout as Dr. Grenvil, Osie Hawkins as D'Obigny and Alessio de Paolis as Gastone, were agreeable in the limited opportunities given them. The chorus which bears a considerable responsibility in giving "Traviata" that touch of brilliance it must have to come fully to life sang admirably and at moments with magnificence. Maria Svetlova was all that a ballerina could be in the pleasant divertissement of Flora's house and Pietro Cimara in the orchestra pit brought vitality to the score and spirit to the singers.

This performance of "Traviata" will add prestige and win more friends for the visits of the Metropolitan Opera Company to Dallas.

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