[Met Performance] CID:147840
La Traviata {307} Matinee ed. Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California: 04/24/1948.


Los Angeles, California
April 24, 1948 Matinee

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Bidú Sayao
Alfredo.................Jan Peerce
Germont.................Leonard Warren
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Alessio De Paolis
Baron Douphol...........George Cehanovsky
Marquis D'Obigny........Osie Hawkins
Dr. Grenvil.............Clifford Harvuot
Annina..................Thelma Altman
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Marina Svetlova

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

Review of Albert Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times

Met Finishes Its Season Before Sold-Out House

4,000 Turned Away as "Traviata" is Sung; 82,000 Paid Admissions During Engagement

The Metropolitan Opera Company concluded its season with "La Traviata" in Shrine Auditorium yesterday afternoon in an unprecedented blaze of public interest. Some 4.000 disappointed would-be listeners were turned away from the box office and the sold-out house reaped a net of more than $24,000.

In an intermission speech, bidding farewell to the company Ray W. Smith, executive director of Greater Los Angeles Plans, Inc, local sponsors of the engagement, revealed that there had been a total of 82,000 paid admissions during the season. He also assured the public that the new Los Angeles Opera House would be erected "within a reasonable time."

Johnson Replies

Replying on behalf of the Metropolitan, Edward Johnson, the general manager of the company, expressed himself as "tremendously moved by the reception in Los Angeles. The fresh, stimulating response has been most encouraging, and I hope we shall be here for the inauguration of the new opera house."

With the exception of the magnificent vocalism of Leonard Warren, the Met's concluding "Traviata" was rather more impressive for its dramatic and expressive elements than for sheer vocal display. This stress on dramatic verity has featured an unusually large number of the Met's productions, and constitutes an important forward step in the American attitude toward operatic presentation.

Opera as It Should Be

The Met singers not only act well as a general principle, they also as a matter of habit enunciate the text clearly and underline its expressive content. This is opera as it should be, for the music grows inevitably out of the word and the dramatic situation. It may even come to pass that the public, realizing the importance of the text, may eventually demand to hear it in a language it can understand. Certainly the success of "Peter Grimes" and "The Magic Flute" in English have broken the ground toward that desirable consummation.

Bidu Sayao was the Violetta and invested the role with the peculiar poignancy of which she is so eminent a mistress. She was not in the best of voice at the beginning of the coloratura passages of "Ah, fors' e lui" and "Sempre libera" imposed a strain on her slender vocal equipment, but once the music had settled down to a straight lyrical line she sang exquisitely and offered a characterization of complete dimensions.

Consummate Artists

Because Miss Sayao's voice is never overwhelming in power, Jan Peerce was an ideal partner for her as Alfredo, and his singing vied with hers in a wide variety of nuance. In the case of both singers art must sometimes supply what the voice lacks, but since each is a consummate artist that leaves little ground for complaint.

Mr. Warren, unlike most baritones, contrived to make the father a wholly sympathetic character, and his power over the lovers was for once readily understandable. Like the intelligent singer he is, he adjusted his mammoth voice to the scale of those of his companions and climaxed a characterization of fine detail with a "Di provenza" of remarkable restraint and finesse.

The ensemble of minor characters and the chorus were up to their usual excellence, and the conducting Giuseppe Antonicelli revealed the score with affectionate consideration for its often disregarded subtleties.

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