[Met Performance] CID:42470
Lucia di Lammermoor {74} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/22/1908.

(Debut: Umberto Bedeschi

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 22, 1908


Lucia...................Marcella Sembrich
Edgardo.................Alessandro Bonci
Enrico..................Giuseppe Campanari
Raimondo................Giulio Rossi
Normanno................Umberto Bedeschi [Debut]
Alisa...................Marie Mattfeld
Arturo..................Giuseppe Tecchi

Conductor...............Francesco Spetrino

Unsigned review in a Philadelphia newspaper


'Lucia' With Sembrich and Bonci is Given at the Academy

The opera at the Academy of Music last evening for the sixth performance of the current season was Donizetti's well-known "Lucia di Lammermoor," which was given with Mme. Sembrich in the title role and with the part of Edgar assigned to Mr. Bonci. In several of its features the representation was praiseworthy, enjoyable and excellent. It was conducted by Signor Spetrino with a notable measure of efficiency, and it opened in a way that was full of happy promise, briskly, brightly, alertly and in just the right kind of spirit. Unfortunately, owing to the manifest indisposition of Mme. Sembrich, the sequel scarcely satisfied the agreeable anticipation thus aroused. Mme. Sembrich is as conscientious an artist as she is a finished one. Such is her respect for her art, her audience, herself and the score she is interpreting that she always does her best, and never, as some do, permits herself to slight her work or to treat it with indifference. But there are some conditions against which the most zealous and scrupulous artist is unable successfully to contend and Mme. Sembrich was evidently confronted by some such condition last night.

It may have been because she was tired or because she was not feeling well or because she was suffering from a cold, but whatever the reason, her voice was so veiled and dull that it seemed to have no more than half its usual volume, and she evidently felt obliged to use it with the greatest care and to husband her resources with the utmost economy. Reserving her strength for the great moments she sang much of the time mezza voce, employing no more tone than she could help and while her consummate skill in vocalization enabled her to accomplish comparatively large results with very small means, it will be understood that the general effect was materially impaired. In spite of everything, however, there was much in her impersonation to enjoy and to admire. She expressed the tenderness of the character with a notable sincerity and eloquence; she communicated a convincing impression of the anguish Donizetti's hapless heroine is supposed to suffer; she invested the part with an air of vitality and truth which is often missed, and while she was distinctly not at her best in the bravura complications, she delivered the purely cantabile passages with a tone the exquisite beauty of whose quality made substantial amends for its lack of volume.

Signor Bonci, who sustained the role of Edgardo, was not in the very best of voice either, but he gave, as he always does, a striking exhibition of the best Italian school of singing. In the familiar scene which closes the first act he did not fail to produce the accustomed effect and an equal share in the applause elicited was due to him. He also acted with intelligence and spirit, and, while there have been more romantic looking Masters of Ravenswood then the one he presents, his conception of the character was appreciatively formed and cleverly sustained. Mr. Campanari was thoroughly competent, both vocally and dramatically, as Ashton. Rossi was an appropriately sonorous in his role, and with Mattfield as Alisathe cast was satisfactory rounded out. The accompaniments, which while not elaborate, are always melodious and frequently significant, were played very well indeed, with a proper balance, a most commendable lucidity and no lack of expression, and the singing of the choral numbers was generally spirited and correct. The opera was handsomely mounted with scenery which had been brought over from New York, and, while the audience, presumably in consequence of the storm, was not large it showed itself well pleased.

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