[Met Performance] CID:356544
Lucia di Lammermoor {82} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/31/1916.

(Debut: Maria Barrientos

Metropolitan Opera House
January 31, 1916


Lucia...................Maria Barrientos [Debut]
Edgardo.................Giovanni Martinelli
Enrico..................Pasquale Amato
Raimondo................Léon Rothier
Normanno................Pietro Audisio
Alisa...................Minnie Egener
Arturo..................Angelo Badà

Conductor...............Gaetano Bavagnoli

Director................Jules Speck

Lucia di Lammermoor received eight performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun

Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" was sung at the Metropolitan Opera House last night, and Maria Barrientos made her first appearance here as the heroine. An audience of great size assembled and the applause was remarkably vigorous. 'Lucia" had not been sung at the Metropolitan since November 1913. when Italo Cristalli made his debut as Edgardo. The representative of the unfortunate young woman on that occasion was Frieda Hempel, and the unyielding Enrico was Mr. Amato. The opera was heard at times at the Century Opera House. Its vogue in recent years has not been large. There are two chief reasons for this, one is the lack of good colorature sopranos and the other the lack of good tenors who can really interpret the role of Edgardo.

Mr. Caruso sang this part in his first seasons here. He was the best Edgardo since Italo Campanini, probably the greatest exponent of the character the opera stage has known. Too much stress is laid on the soprano part and the tendency is to make the work a one star opera. This is a mistake, for Edgardo is one of the most dramatic of all purely lyric tenor roles, but it requires an actor to bring out its real value. However, since it is now the custom to treat the opera as a soprano exhibition with accessories.

Attention may be bestowed, first of all, on the newcomer. Miss Barrientos disclosed herself last evening as a singer of varied merits. Her voice is very light in color and volume, but it is one of genuinely beautiful quality. Its light tint tends frequently toward whiteness, and it seems probable that the organ will not readily lend itself to the expression of feeling. The singer's tone production was uneven. She sang her Italian "A" very open in the low register, and her long "I" in the upper range very much on the teeth. The result was continual shifts from a throaty tone to one very piercing.

Her intonation was almost flawless and her phrasing showed not only command of breath, but musical intelligence. Her mastery of the "messa di voce" - the art of taking a tone pianissimo and making a crescendo and a diminuendo on it - was extraordinarily fine and was used to make some beautiful effects. Her colorature in the first act showed a tendency toward staccato and her runs were not in perfect legato style. She sang "Quando rapito" with excellence in the general plan and with some beautiful touches, but the number was marred by some of the defects mentioned. In the sextet she lacked the tonal power necessary to give that number its proper balance.

In the mad scene she gave a display of her best qualities. Her singing of "Ardon gl'incenci" was marked by taste as well as by much elegance of style and musical intelligence. The cadenza was sung with great care. Perhaps hereafter she will show more abandon in it, but it was delivered with accuracy of style rather than brilliance. Her trill was particularly good and her staccati very clean and musical. It must be added that the soprano seemed to be very nervous and furthermore the house was very warm. Under better conditions she will doubtless sing even better. Her debut was on the whole successful.

Mr. Martinelli, who appeared as Edgardo, was not in his best vocal condition, but he sang the music commendably. Mr. Amato was admirable as Enrico. Mr. Rothier was good as Raimondo and Minnie Egener sang creditably the brief recitatives of Alisa. The cast included Angelo Bada as Arturo. Mr. Bevignoli conducted and the capable orchestra transformed itself in a big guitar without palpable effort.

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