[Met Performance] CID:30530
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {49} Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/13/1903.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
January 13, 1903


Figaro..................Giuseppe Campanari
Rosina..................Marcella Sembrich
Count Almaviva..........Thomas Salignac
Dr. Bartolo.............Charles Gilibert
Don Basilio.............Edouard de Reszke
Berta...................Mathilde Bauermeister
Fiorello................Bernard Bégué
Sergeant................Roberto Vanni

Conductor...............Luigi Mancinelli

[n the Lesson Scene, Sembrich sang Strauss's "Voci di primavera" and "Ah, non giunge" from La Sonnambula. She followed these selections by going to the piano and playing and singing Chopin's "The Maiden's Wish."]

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)



Gilibert's Baritone Wins Praise Because of its Deviation From Traditional Lines - He is Full of Humor.

It was a very bright performance of the perennial "Barber" that Mr. Grau's people gave at the Academy last night and it afforded a great deal of pleasure to the audience. There was but one unfamiliar figure in the cast, Gilibert's Dr. Bartolo, a genuinely comic impersonation that follows the traditional lines with a difference. The Italian buffo is usually a little man; this French comedian is a huge man, bigger than Edouard de Reske, and in the conventional costume of the part he is the very picture of vain and fatuous senility. He plays the part with exquisite humor and he sings it humorously, though not in the fluent Italian manner. The best model of this is still Campanari, whose Figaro improves with age. He is absolutely sure and at his ease in all of its requirements, vocally as well as in its hustling comedy. What his Figaro lacks in distinction, when compared with great examples, is mainly physical and, in clear and certain and copious musical delivery, it stands quite alone upon our stage today. Salignac, though he has rather less voice than heretofore, is about the only tenor we have who can sing the Rossini roulades at all and as Almaviva is always intelligent and grateful. As for Edouard, Basilio is one of the comic roles in which he takes and gives great delight. He never sang "La calumnia" better or with more broadly humorous effect, aided by the amazed imbecility of Dr. Bartolo. The whole performance was pervaded by a spirit of humor that gave it life and movement and, speaking generally, it was entirely well sung.

A stronger adjective than this is needed for the Rosina. Madame Sembrich's gracious personality is always welcome in this merry part which she sings with very great ease and charm, though with much more economy of voice than formerly. "Una voce" is often disappointing, but none of the bright music of her first scene, including even the duet with Figaro, had quite its usual sparkle. But there were no reservations in the music lesson. She sang the Strauss waltz, "Voce di Primavera," as nobody else can sing it now, her clear staccato notes glittering as of old, and with a lovely descending scale at the close that was alone worth the price of admission. If this piece of vocalization pleased the old-timers, still better was their delight to hear "Ah non giunge" sung as they could hardly have hoped to hear it in these days when the serious music drama has driven "La Sonnambula" to dreamless sleep. It was very, very lovely, and showed not only the flawless execution, but the continued freshness of a voice that very often lately has seemed tired. Of course the audience would not be satisfied till the diva had gone to the piano and played and sung her own favorite Polish ballad from Chopin.

Mancinelli conducted the performance with his usual good taste and authority. If we except an unexpected rearrangement of the familiar scenery showing the garden and front of Dr. Bartolo's house, with some other innovations in Academy traditions, there are no unusual novelties to be noted in a generally successful presentation. "Faust" is announced for next Tuesday, with Eames, Alvarez, Scotti and Edouard de Reszke.

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