[Met Performance] CID:153020
Tosca {290} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/28/1950.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 28, 1950


GALA TESTIMONIAL in honor of EDWARD JOHNSON

TOSCA {290}

Tosca...................Ljuba Welitsch
Cavaradossi.............Ferruccio Tagliavini
Scarpia.................Lawrence Tibbett
Sacristan...............Melchiorre Luise [Last performance]
Spoletta................Alessio De Paolis
Angelotti...............Hugh Thompson
Sciarrone...............George Cehanovsky
Shepherd................Thelma Altman
Jailer..................John Baker

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


OPERA PAGEANT

"Commemorating some of the historic productions of Edward Johnson's regime, his colleagues of the Company past and present will appear in the costumes of familiar roles. The regretted absence of certain artists is due to their out-of-town commitments."

Master of Ceremonies
John Brownlee

Conductor
Wilfred Pelletier

UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
Jan Peerce, Leonard Warren, Lorenzo Alvary, Lawrence Davidson, Chorus and Ballet

LA TRAVIATA
Lucrezia Bori, Thelma Votipka, Eugene Conley, Giuseppe De Luca, George Cehanovsky

OTELLO
Florence Quartararo, Martha Lipton, Giovanni Martinelli, Lawrence Tibbett, Leslie Chabay

FAUST
Nadine Conner, Inge Manski, Raoul Jobin, Robert Merrill, Nicola Moscona

DER ROSENKAVALIER
Jarmila Novotna, Eleanor Steber, Erna Berger, Emanuel List

MANON LESCAUT
Licia Albanese, Richard Tucker, Giuseppe Valdengo, Louis D'Angelo

TOSCA
Ljuba Welitsch, Thelma Altman, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Melchiorre Luise, John Baker

PETER GRIMES
Polyna Stoska, Paula Lenchner, Maxine Stellman, Jean Madeira, Frederick Jagel, Hugh Thompson

LOHENGRIN
Blanche Thebom, Set Svanholm, Osie Hawkins, and Pages

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
Lois Hunt, Anne Bollinger, Irene Jessner, Italo Tajo, Gerhard Pechner

DON GIOVANNI
Rose Bampton, Regina Resnik, Patrice Munsel, Paul Schöffler, Salvatore Baccaloni

DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG
Astrid Varnay, Margaret Harshaw, Kurt Baum, Karl Laufkötter, Friedrich Schorr,
Dezsö Ernster,Mack Harrell, Paul Franke, Clifford Harvuot, Philip Kinsman

Presentation:
Lucrezia Bori
Edward Johnson

Entrance of Metropolitan Mastersingers, Musicians, Stage Directors, Administration, and Staff Executives at Liberty on this Occasion:

Kurt Adler, Reginald Allen, Aida Alvarez, Giuseppe Antonicelli, Ernesto Barbini, Karin Branzell, Lucielle Browning, Jacob Bucheter, Julius Burger, Fritz Busch, Margaret Carson, Renato Cellini, Otello Ceroni, Jennie Cervini, Pietro Cimara, Emil Cooper, Anthony Crispano, Margaret Curtis, Emery Darcy, Pasquale De Angelis, Desire Defrere, Antonio Dell'Orefice, Cloe Elmo, Felix Eyle, Henry A. Fischer, Peter Paul Fuchs, Alexander Gavrilov, Herbert Graf, Denis Harbour, Kathleen Harding, Edward Hauch, Thomas Hayward, Thomas Hillary, Frank Kilkenny, Albert A. Kirch, Peter Klein, Felix Knight, Tibor Kozma, Marjorie Lawrence, Earle R. Lewis, Max Lorenz, Louis Melançon, John Mundy, Joseph Novak, Antoine Oberding, Frank Paola, Jeanne Palmer, Jonel Perlea, Irra Petina, Lillian Raymondi, Fritz Reiner, Gertrude Ribla, Helen Rintelen, Francis Robinson, Boris Romanoff, Leon Rothier, Max Rudolf, Kenneth Schon, Harry G. Schumer, Adolf Senz, Fritz Stiedry, Frank St. Leger, Alexander Sved, Walter Taussig, Reginald S. Tonry, Frank Valentino, Leon Varkas, Lubomir Vichegonov, Luigi Villa, M.A. Villa, Ramon Vinay, Andrea Vivante, Frank Warren, Robert Weede, Thurber Wilkins, Dino Yannopoulos


[Following the performance of Tosca sixty singers paraded onstage costumed as favorite characters from a dozen productions of the Johnson era, 1935-1950. At the end of the procession, nearly eighty additional past and present members of the company, including those noted above, gathered onstage to pay homage to the general manager. Bori then led Johnson from the wings to accept gifts from the board of directors, various colleagues and labor unions. In a short farewell speech, Johnson, whose regime had ridden out the Great Depression and World War II declared that he was "very happy in spite of everything."]


Review of Quaintance Eaton in Musical America

Puccini's "Tosca," given for the sixth time this season, served as a curtain raiser to the pageant which marked Edward Johnson's retirement, and aroused intense interest in the gala audience chiefly because Ljuba Welitsch sang her first Floria Tosca here. Another source of comment was the unexpected presence of Lawrence Tibbett in the cast, as a relief for Paul Schoeffler, who was not available because he had substituted as Hans Sachs for Herbert Janssen in" Die Meistersinger" the previous evening. With Ferruccio Tagliavini as Mario, Tosca seemed set for an eventful run-through. Eventful it proved, although not entirely in the felicitous manner expected. There was more unsolicited laughter from the audience than is consistent with the performance of a tragedy.

All personal contributions aside for the moment, it seemed more than likely that the opera had received little if any rehearsal, with or without Mr. Tibbett, thus sharing the fate of many presentations in the regime whose closing it signalized. This may have partly accounted for the inept movement about the stage, the seeming failure of any one principal to know where another was going to be at any given moment, and also for the unrestrained actions of the principals. In the struggle between Tosca and Scarpia in the second act, it seemed that no holds were barred.

Aside from some wonderful vocalization by Miss Welitsch, the prevailing spirit remained anarchistic. And even that self-possessed lady, stimulated by the emotion of the moment, took liberties with the music in 'Vissi d'arte' which must have caused some trouble in the orchestra pit. She sang the aria on her knees, where Scarpia had flung her. When the time came for murder, she stabbed the luckless chief of police over and over, and kicked his lifeless body.

The exaggerations of action did not make for the best singing on anyone's part. Mr. Tagliavini seemed nervous, and did not do himself justice. Only the smaller characters proceeded according to routine, unmoved by the storms at a higher level - Hugh Thompson, as Angelotti; Melchiorre Luise, as the Sacristan; Alessio de Paolis, as Spoletta ; George Cehanovsky, as Sciarrone; John Baker, as the Jailer; and Thelma Altman, as the Shepherd. Giuseppe Antonicelli was in charge of the orchestra, and Dino Yannopoulos, of the stage.


Onstage at farewell for Edward Johnson. Photograph by United Press International.



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