[Met Performance] CID:149830
L'Elisir d'Amore {65} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/15/1949.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 15, 1949


Adina...................Bidú Sayao
Nemorino................Ferruccio Tagliavini
Belcore.................Giuseppe Valdengo
Dr. Dulcamara...........Salvatore Baccaloni
Giannetta...............Paula Lenchner

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

Review of Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Metropolitan Gives "L'Elisir d'Amore'

Donizetti's bubbling "L'Elisir d'Amore" appeared at the Academy of Music last night like a Spring freshet, quite matching the unprecedented 73-degree temperature outside.

The Metropolitan Opera Association brought Donizetti's delightful opera-buffa to our principal stage, just as it had on the last previous occasion, which, in the interest of accuracy, was on December 16, 1941, with Bidu Sayao, Bruno Landi, Francesco Valentino and Salvatore Baccaloni in the cast.

Miss Sayao and Mr. Baccaloni were again present in what proved to be one of the most spontaneously delightful evenings of the current opera season.

L'Elisir d'Amore" is a simon-pure product of its period - the early part of the 19th century. It is fresh, engaging, wholesome and naïve in its humor. But let no one think it is easy to sing. For one singer who can come through with credit to himself in Donizetti's music, there are an easy dozen who could make a respectable showing in the vocalism called upon by Puccini, Strauss or Richard Wagner.

Ferruccio Tagliavini was the evening's Nemorino - a role made famous by Enrico Caruso and Alessandro Bonci, and later by Beniamino Gigli and Tito Schipa.

Signor Tagliavini finds in Nemorino a role that is utterly congenial to his vocal style and to his powers as an actor. He displayed genuine talent as a comedian, and was apparently never tempted to overdo the fun, for which we were devoutly thankful.

As was to be expected, the beautiful last act romance, "Una furtive lagrime," was the vocal high- spot of the evening.

The aria was sung with rare vocal artistry, and with a simplicity and sincerity that were really touching. Here was no flaunting of a sure-fire moment by an exhibitionistic tenor. The impression was of an utterly spontaneous avowal. This really lovely piece of singing was rewarded by the most prolonged ovation of the year by an audience which thoroughly enjoyed itself.

Bidu Sayao finds in Adina one of her most charming roles. She, also, knows how to caress the vocal line, how to sing the embellishments with which Donizetti filigreed his airs. As a graceful and sprightly soubrette Miss Sayao has few equals. She was in excellent form last evening.

The performance was also benefited by the resonant Belcore of Giuseppe Valdengo, a baritone who knows how to sing as well as move about the stage, and by the immense globular Dulcamara of Salvatore Baccaloni, who sang his great buffo aria, "Udite, udite o rustici" with contagious unction.

Paula Lenchner was an attractive Giannetta, and chorus and orchestra seemed right on their toes under the enthusiastic beat of Giuseppe Antonicelli, who came in for his share of the evening's applause.

Joseph Novak's scenery was bright and evocative of an Italian village, and a stalwart team of grey horses was on hand to draw Dulcamara and his medicines on to the village square.

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