[Met Performance] CID:1750
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {4} Haverly's Theatre, Chicago, Illinois: 01/25/1884.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
Haverly's Theatre
January 25, 1884


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA {4}

Figaro..................Giuseppe Del Puente
Rosina..................Marcella Sembrich
Count Almaviva..........Victor Capoul
Dr. Bartolo.............Baldassare Corsini
Don Basilio.............Giovanni Mirabella
Berta...................Emily Lablache
Fiorello................Ludovico Contini
Sergeant................Amadeo Grazzi

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

[In the Lesson Scene Sembrich sang Deh torna mio bene (Proch) and Someday (Wellings), and at the end of the opera she interpolated "Ah non giunge" from La Sonnambula.]


Review in the Chicago Tribune:

The Barber at Haverly's Last Night

Rossini's "Il Barbiere" was first produced at the Carnival in Rome in 1816, and it is the climax of mad-cap carnival absurdity. Each and every one of the performers has to turn for the into a musical fire-work, and to sparkle and flex with the intense energy and without intermission throughout the two long acts. It is musical farce in its broadest sense, though its prodigious difficulties can be overcome only by the most consummate artists. This could never have been done more triumphantly than was the case last night, with Mme. Sembrich as Rosina, Del Puente as Figaro, Capoul as Almaviva, Cortini as Dr. Bartolo, Mirabella as Don Basilio, and Mme. Lablache as Berta. Capoul was here at his very best, since his voice is as phenomenally flexible for a man as Sembrich's is for a woman, and the part of Almaviva is perhaps the most florid that a tenor can attempt. Del Puente as the brilliant Figaro and Mme. Sembrich as the willful and fascinating Rosina were simply perfection. Sembrich was not only a fire-work, she was a sky-rocket that shot up over and over again among the B's and C's (and stayed there) and, if we mistake not, once even to D in alt. Her staccato variations in Proch's "Air and Variations" was so wonderful as to call forth rapturous thunders from the whole house, and in her rendering of "Ah, non giunge," just before the fall of the curtain, it was impossible to think of anything but a Louisiana mocking bird, swaying jollity as they do on some topmost bough and showering out the golden notes simply because it is impossible to hold them in.

Signor Cortini was capital as Dr. Bartolo, and Signor Mirabella delightfully absurd as Don Basilio. Mme. Lablache filled her small part of Beta, the sentimental spinster, with her usual success. The orchestra played the gay overture extremely well, and all the accompaniments were satisfactory. One or two slips count for nothing when all the rest was such a prodigy of artistic mastery and skill, as it merely indicates that there had not been time enough for exhaustive rehearsal. In response to one of her encores Mme. Sembrich gave the favorite ballad "Some Day" with charming sentiment and in broken English that was almost equally so.

There was only one "if" to the whole rendering and that was pretty Rosina's dress. If Mme. Sembrich's three costumes in "Lucia" were each an Italian picture, as Rosinia, her single one was too German for anything - utterly tasteless. A coiffure of black lace, which at a little distance looked like a huge chignon of black curls made her pretty little head appear almost twice its natural size, just as all women's heads did twenty years ago.



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