[Met Performance] CID:149160
Rigoletto {286} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/15/1948.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 15, 1948


RIGOLETTO {286}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Leonard Warren
Gilda...................Lily Pons
Duke of Mantua..........Jan Peerce
Maddalena...............Cloe Elmo
Sparafucile.............Luben Vichey
Monterone...............Kenneth Schon
Borsa...................Alessio De Paolis
Marullo.................George Cehanovsky
Count Ceprano...........John Baker
Countess Ceprano........Maxine Stellman
Giovanna................Thelma Altman
Page....................Thelma Altman

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


Review of Irving Kolodin in the New York Sun

Warren Sings a Potent Rigoletto at the Metropolitan.

As a counterpart of the trees which tend to be obscured by the forest the Metropolitan has a Warren occasionally lost among its vocal rabbits. This gross pun is defensible only to direct attention to the superlative performance by Leonard Warren in last night's
"Rigoletto" as an approximate index to the way in which its power, fervor and breadth of expression tower over the bulk of the work now being done in that house.

From the day of its first hearing as an Auditions winner ten years ago, there has never been any qualification about the vigor or warmth of the voice between those broad shoulders. But we may note as fortunate the impulse which has led him (by no easy steps) to master the dramatic and emotional detail of this part while he retains the vocal health to make it a complete experience. It seemed a few weeks back in his Iago that some of the glow had gone from his voice; that quibble must be amended in ring of tone that he delivered in "Par siamo," in "Cotigiani," and the superlative "Vendetta" of this occasion. And these were merely the citable instances of an evening's singing that was consistently excitable. As a father or as a fool, Warren was more than believable; he was Rigoletto.

In the warmth induced by this accomplishment, one was also inclined to admiration for the solid consistency of Jan Peerce, who sang the Duke. Here is an artist who never sings badly, almost always sings well. Perhaps the vocal color is a little dark for the Verdi of the '50s, but it is serious and persuasive singing, rich in accent, valid in purpose. Both male principals, as well as conductor Pietro Cimara, had their bad moments with a soprano who was more Lily Pons than Gilda (a circumstance explained by the fact that it was Lily Pons) but there were some compensating virtues. Among these were a good deal of easy execution-not invariably accurate, but still easy-and a sharp glint of sunlight in the upper tones. Miss Pons tempted fate with a second high E after the first successful one in "Caro nome," but the impulse, at any rate, was generous. However, when coloraturas learn to leave well enough alone, critics will join the unemployed. Both possibilities seem remote.

The large audience had frequent occasions for applause, some of which went, beside those mentioned, to Cloe Elmo as Maddelena, Kenneth Schon as Monterone and Lubomir Vichegonov as Sparafucile. For that matter, Cimara did an excellent job when the opera was Rigoletto rather than Gilda.



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