[Met Performance] CID:148020
Il Trovatore {240} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 05/13/1948.

(Review)


Cleveland, Ohio
May 13, 1948


IL TROVATORE {240}
Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Jussi Björling
Leonora.................Stella Roman
Count Di Luna...........Robert Merrill
Azucena.................Cloe Elmo
Ferrando................Jerome Hines
Ines....................Inge Manski
Ruiz....................Leslie Chabay
Gypsy...................John Baker

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

Review of Oscar Smith the Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal

"Il Trovatore" Wins Cleveland Bravos

Cast, Singing Are Excellent In Verdi's 'Ragtime' Opera

CLEVELAND - Verdi's 'Il Trovatore," presented Thursday night in Public Hall, brought Cleveland Metropolitan Opera week to the half-way mark as far as performances are concerned.

There have been four performances so far and four more are scheduled for today and Saturday.

The popular double bill, Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci," was scheduled for this afternoon and Mozart's "Don Giovanni" for tonight. Bizet's "Carmen" will be given Saturday afternoon and Verdi's "Masked Ball" will end the festival Saturday night.

"Il Trovatore" last night brought the warmest reception of any opera given so far. After every one of the eight scenes the stars were recalled for many curtain calls. There were shouts of "bravo" from confirmed opera addicts.

There are several reasons for this enthusiasm. In the first place the cast was excellent and the singing was the best of the week.
Another reason is that "Il Trovatore," which has been called the ragtime of grand opera, has some of the grandest and most familiar tunes in all opera.

Despite the heavy tragedy, the huge audience left the auditorium in a happy mood, many of them humming or whistling the "Miserere" and "Home to Our Mountains." It was the magic touch of the old master, Verdi.

Cloe Elmo, new contralto at the Met, was a superb Azucena.

It was Cleveland's first opportunity to hear her. Miss Elmo, a native of Italy, gave a dramatic portrayal of the old gypsy. Her voice rich and flexible, was just as dramatic.

Miss Elmo is the kind of artist who stops operas. The audience gave her ovations, some of which she shared with Jussi Bjoerling, noted Swedish tenor, who sang the role of Manrico, the troubadour.

Bjoerling, who is rather stiff in his acting at times, sang the difficult role in a manner to please the most exacting opera fan. Bjoerling, the Scandinavian, sings with all the warmth of an Italian tenor of the old school.

He reached high "C"s with electrifying power into the aria "Di quella pira," and his voice blended perfectly with Miss Elmo's in "Home to Our Mountains" and with Stella Roman in the "Miserere" duet.

Miss Roman's singing in the role of Leonora was rather disappointing, although at times she reached dramatic heights and achieved fine tones.

The trouble seemed to be an irritating vibrato and a harsh quality when she attempted open high tones. She was the only one of the principals who had trouble staying on pitch.

Robert Merrill, a young baritone who has climbed rapidly up the Metropolitan ladder in a short time, distinguished himself as the villainous Count Di Luna. Merrill's singing of "Il Balen" was a gem of voice production, with a fine legato style and resonance.

Jerome Hines, a giant of a man, towered over everyone on the stage as Ferrando. He has a powerful bass voice to match his stature. Hines was in fine form for his long narrative in the first scene.

Emil Cooper's brilliant conducting no doubt was largely responsible for the spirited performance of this operatic warhorse.



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