[Met Performance] CID:147930
Don Giovanni {141} Indiana University Auditorium, Bloomington, Indiana: 05/4/1948.

(Review)


Bloomington, Indiana
May 4, 1948


DON GIOVANNI {141}

Don Giovanni............Ezio Pinza
Donna Anna..............Regina Resnik
Don Ottavio.............Charles Kullman
Donna Elvira............Florence Quartararo
Leporello...............Salvatore Baccaloni
Zerlina.................Frances Greer
Masetto.................Lorenzo Alvary
Commendatore............Jerome Hines

Conductor...............Max Rudolf


Review of Corbin Patrick in the Indianapolis Star

Tribute to Mr. Opera

Pinza Sings "Don Giovanni"

Ezio Pinza, Mr. Opera Himself, attracted a capacity audience of 3,800 to the Indiana University Auditorium tonight for a performance of "Don Giovanni," second and last of the events on the Metropolitan Opera Company's spring program here. The Met will being shifting its camp to Lafayette some time tonight to be in position to present Verdi's "La Traviata" in a special performance before the students and faculty members of Purdue University tomorrow night. Then it will leave the Hoosier state for less favored parts, but with every indication of returning next season for a longer stay.

The enthusiasm displayed for Mozart's ever fresh masterpiece must be accounted a personal tribute to Pinza, undoubtedly the most popular singing actor of our day, who may be making his last tour with the Met - he will try his luck with the spoken drama in New York in the fall. Radiant gem that it is, "Don Giovanni" needs a personality of Pinza's quality to sell it to a public that is willing and determined enough, but not yet entirely sophisticated in its opera-going. He and his well-chosen associates sold it with conviction last night. Pinza got the crowd and Mozart took over from there. The interstate audience no doubt will agree that Richard Strauss, whose "Rosenkavalier" was given Monday night, could learn a great deal from Mozart in the practical uses of brevity, wit and economy of means. A fanciful, complex libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte is transformed to pure delight by the alchemy of Mozart's unfailingly inspired music. The score is a liquid flow of sparkling masterpieces. It is a succession of bewitching songs written for the principal voices singly and in every combination - delicious arias, duets, trios, quartets that spell one magic word - enchantment.

Italian Don Juan

It tells the legend of the libertine and the statue that came to dinner. "Don Giovanni" is the Italian equivalent of that Spanish rake, Don Juan, who enjoys his last adventure and pays the ultimate price in Mozart's opera. Its mood is dramatic only in the first and last scenes. Otherwise, the prevailing note is one of high comedy. As the plot opens, Giovanni insults Donna Anna, daughter of the Commander of Seville, and kills that worthy when he comes to her defense. Not quite sure who the assailant was, Donna Anna and her fiancÚ, Don Ottavio, swear vengeance - in which they are joined by sundry others who have reason to hate Giovanni's guts. It's a case of love on the run for the incurably romantic and utterly unscrupulous libertine until the equestrian statue of the last commander speaks to him from its pedestal and accepts his bold invitation to sup that night. The stone image of the commander stomps into the banquet hall on schedule and Don Giovanni's hour has come.

Pinza is a matchless portrayer of this arch-villain. He plays the role to the hilt and the power and lyric beauty of his superbly pliant and expressive voice are not to be denied. Donna Anna is sung with grace and spirit by Regina Resnik, a gifted young artist who is to be our Carmen in the Butler Bowl this summer. Her voice and style seem much better suited to the music of Mozart that to that of Wagner, which she sang with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in the past season.

Cast is Splendid

Salvatore Baccaloni upheld his reputation as opera's leading basso-buffo by a hearty performance of Leporello, who takes the raps for his master, Giovanni. Jerome Hines was impressive as the commandant. Charles Kullman as Don Ottavio and Lorenzo Alvary as Masetto made good impressions in the priceless opportunities Mozart affords the tenors[sic]. The parts of other women in Giovanni's vivid life were taken splendidly by Florence Quartararo and Frances Greer. Altogether, it was an admirable cast.

Max Rudolf conducted Mozart's marvelous score with lively affection and the orchestra gave him a telling performance. The Met's orchestra today is first rate. In fact, it now maintains a high standard in all departments as might be expected of the world's most famous opera house. The ballet was pleasing in its one incidental appearance. Even the staging was impressive. "Don Giovanni" is the heaviest production the Met is presenting on this tour.



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