[Met Performance] CID:165520
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {252} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/13/1954.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 13, 1954


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA {252}

Figaro..................Renato Capecchi
Rosina..................Victoria de los Angeles
Count Almaviva..........Cesare Valletti
Dr. Bartolo.............Fernando Corena
Don Basilio.............Jerome Hines
Berta...................Jean Madeira
Fiorello................George Cehanovsky
Sergeant................Alessio De Paolis
Ambrogio................Rudolf Mayreder
Notary..................Rudolf Mayreder

Conductor...............Alberto Erede


[From February 19, 1954 until 1/23/71, the selection sung by Rosina in the Lesson Scene was Contro un cor, the aria originally written by Rossini for this episode.]

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America


Victoria de los Angeles, who is one of the proudest ornaments of the Metropolitan Opera, was the Rosina of this performance. Miss de los Angeles had sung the role for the first time there on April 7. It was a foregone conclusion that she would sing the music exquisitely, for her performance in the recording of the opera made by RCA Victor in Milan under Tullio Serafin was already known to us. But her dramatic performance was equally distinguished in its youthful charm, its radiant warmth and mischievous flirtatiousness.

Miss de los Angeles is the most vocally lovely and dramatically convincing Rosina I have ever encountered. She sings the arias in their original keys, thereby restoring the music to its pristine state. When the part of Rosina was transposed up for coloratura sopranos, it took on a brilliant veneer that robbed it of much of its warmth. Furthermore, the temptation to turn the character into a sophisticated canary instead of an impish young girl was almost irresistible. But Miss de los Angeles humanizes the opera; we sympathize with the young lovers and obtain welcome relief from the constant chatter of the comedy in their tender duets and solos. Yet where agility and virtuosic power are called for, she can furnish them in abundance. In a hundred passages, her elegance, her musicality and her incomparable spontaneity of style came through. In the lesson scene, she sings the aria that Rossini composed for this passage. Mere vocal display, which used in bygone years to be the rule in this scene, would be completely out of place in the Metropolitan's new, well-integrated production of the opera.

The entire cast outdid itself in this performance. Cesare Valletti sang the arias of Count Almaviva with a caress of tone and phrase, an amplitude of breath and a richness of vocal
color that reminded one of some of the Metropolitan's celebrated Italian tenors of former years. Fernando Corena was a priceless Dr. Bartolo, not merely amusing but extremely able in vocal technique. Renato Capecchi, after a nervous beginning, was a vocally agile and dramatically vivacious Figaro. Jerome Hines's towering stature and orotund voice were perfect for the role of Don Basilio; and George Cehanovsky and Alessio De Paolis also gave spirited performances. Jean Madeira made the most of her aria di sorbetto, singing it so well that I am sure that even an audience of 1816 would have kept its spoons and tongues quiet while she was performing. Alberto Erede again conducted.



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