[Met Performance] CID:1680
La Gioconda {5} Chestnut St. Opera House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/18/1884.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chestnut St. Opera House
January 18, 1884


LA GIOCONDA {5}
Ponchielli-Boito

La Gioconda.............Christine Nilsson
Enzo....................Victor Capoul
Laura...................Emmy Fursch-Madi
Barnaba.................Giuseppe Del Puente
Alvise..................Franco Novara
La Cieca................Sofia Scalchi
Zune...................Achille Augier
Ispo...................Amadeo Grazzi
Steersman...............Giuseppe Barberis
Singer..................Ludovico Contini
Dance...................Malvina Cavalazzi

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi

Review in the Philadelphia Press:

Ponchielli, the composer of "La Gioconda," has shown himself an apt pupil, but not in any sense a servile imitator of Verdi. His work also gives evidence of the influence of Wagner, but he is thoroughly original. There is the greatest variety of instrumentation in this new opera. The composer has seized upon the gayest elements of Venetian life to contrast with the lurid gloom and tragedy of the story. Therefore, the work abounds in contrasts. Sailors' songs, popular carnivals, gay ball-room ballets, alternate with suggestions of storms, with the music of human passion and despair, jealousy and love. There are numerous beautiful airs and the ensemble of the finale to the third act is almost unequalled for grand effect. There is no room to speak of the music in detail.

The performance last evening was, with the exception of some serious faults, an excellent one, and was enjoyed by an audience not less brilliant, and only slightly less crowded, than on Monday evening. Madame Nilsson, as Gioconda, was noticeably lacking in dramatic fire, and her voice was not in its very best condition, but there were many details in which her artistic sense found full expression. Her duet in the second act with Madame Fursch-Madi was finely sung. The part is intensely dramatic, and, when it called for tenderness and sympathy, Madame Nilsson was at her best.

Madame Scalchi, as La Cieca, carried the first act almost entirely. Her singing of "Voce di donna O angelo" was beautiful, though it was marred by her growing use of the vibrato. M. Capoul, as Enzo, began bravely, but in the second act his voice showed the unfortunate signs of wear, and his rendering of the exquisite aria "L'angiol una virra" was execrable. Signor Del Puente made a capital Barnaba, and Signor Novara as Alvise was beyond praise. Madame Fursch-Madi, as Laura, more than confirmed the impression of last night. She has a beautiful voice, and her acting was perfect. The ballet, in which Cavalazzi took the leading part, was excellently performed. Madame Cavalazzi was warmly applauded. "La Gioconda" is sure to be a favorite opera in this city.



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