[Met Performance] CID:34180
Don Pasquale {12}
Cavalleria Rusticana {89}
Metropolitan Opera House: 12/9/1904.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 9, 1904


DON PASQUALE {12}
Donizetti-Ruffini

Don Pasquale............Arcangelo Rossi
Norina..................Marcella Sembrich
Ernesto.................Andreas Dippel
Notary..................Ernesto Giaccone
Dr. Malatesta...........Antonio Scotti
Notary..................Ernesto Giaccone

Conductor...............Arturo Vigna

Director................Eugène Dufriche

Don Pasquale received two performances this season.


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA {89}
Mascagni-Targioni-Tozzetti/Menasci

Santuzza................Maria De Macchi
Turiddu.................Albert Saléza
Lola....................Josephine Jacoby
Alfio...................Taurino Parvis
Mamma Lucia.............Mathilde Bauermeister

Conductor...............Arturo Vigna

Director................Eugène Dufriche

Cavalleria Rusticana received 10 performances this season.


Review of Richard Aldrich in The New York Times

MME. SEMBRICH AS NORINA

A BRILLIANT INTERPRETATION OF DONIZETTI'S COMEDY - MME. DE MACCHI AS SANTUZZA

For the first time this season a "double bill" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House, in which the sharpest contrast was presented that Italian opera can afford, the contrast between Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" and Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana," an exemplification of the extreme to which the composers of Italy have gone in the last half century or so. "Don Pasquale" is Donizetti at his best and most characteristic, the style in which his genius was really most at home and that in which his music is most vital today.

There was a suggestive comparison between "Don Pasquale" as it was given last evening and the same composer's "Lucrezia Borgia" as it was given Monday evening. It went much further than the inscription of the one as an "opera comique" and the other as a tragedy. There were those who found in the stilted and ineffective trivialities of the tragedy something to excite laughter, but if the outworn commonplaces of Lucrezia Borgia's operatic plotting and villainies are something to laugh at, the transparent mischiefmaking and gravity of Norina are something to laugh with and to find delight in. There is the spirit of comedy in "Don Pasquale," in the music as well as in the intrigue and both are fresh and sparkling today, when the opera is in the hands of artists who are animated by that spirit and who can communicate the gayety and charm of its music through their ability to sing it as the composer intended.

The revival of Donizetti's three comedies, "Don Pasquale," "La Fille du Regiment," and "L'Elisir d'Amore," which are due to the presence of Mme. Sembrich in the company of the opera house, are among the things that have given unalloyed pleasure in recent years. "Don Pasquale" had not been given at the Metropolitan for two years, but Mme. Sembrich's brilliant and volatile impersonation of Norina is well remembered as one of her most delightful ones.

Its youthful demureness and archness of action are floated upon a spontaneous and ebullient outpouring of song that never seemed so sparkling, so perfect and finished in vocalism, or of which extraordinary brilliancy as it did last evening. Her companions in the cast entered into the same spirit and with an understanding and an ability to sing the music that resulted in a performance that completely embodied all the gayety and humor of the piece. Mr. Dippel as Ernesto was in excellent voice, and Mr. Scotti made an engaging figure of the Dottore Malatesta.

Mr. Rossi, who has not had an opportunity with Don Pasquale in New York before, moulded the part on the true Italian "buffo" lines that he has made so effective in other works of the same kind. Mr. Vigna conducts this kind of music too heavily and rigidly, and he accompanied Mme. Sembrich in Arditi's waltz, "Parla," which she interpolated in the last act, with a heavy hand.

In "Cavalleria Rusticana" Mme. de Macchi made a more favorable impression than she did in "Lucrezia Borgia," the other evening. It calls for a very different order of abilities in both song and action, and she made it evident that, not possessing the sustained and legato style of vocalism needed in the older opera, she can nevertheless sing the declamatory and passionate phrases of the modern one with poignant effectiveness. The voice seemed again last evening lacking in fullness and richness, and was still unsteady; but she made it a vehicle of vehement dramatic expression. In appearance and in action she gave a vivid portrayal of the passionate Sicilian woman.

Mr. Saléza has sung Turiddu many times; it is one of his best parts. His voice last night was rich and passionate in quality, and he makes the character a vital reality, for which he has the temperament and the skill in a high degree. Mr. Parvis is not of the stature to which we have been accustomed in representatives of Alfio, and though his attempt was sincere and painstaking, the lack of power and resonance in his voice was sorely felt.



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