[Met Performance] CID:45100
La Traviata {73} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/18/1909.

(Debut: Lydia Lipkowska

Metropolitan Opera House
November 18, 1909

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Lydia Lipkowska [Debut]
Alfredo.................Enrico Caruso
Germont.................Pasquale Amato
Flora...................Matja von Niessen-Stone
Gastone.................Pietro Audisio
Baron Douphol...........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Marquis D'Obigny........Bernard Bégué
Dr. Grenvil.............Paolo Ananian
Annina..................Marie Mattfeld
Dance...................Gina Torriani

Conductor...............Vittorio Podesti

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

La Traviata received four performances this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times (Richard Aldrich?)


Miss Lipkowska Makes Debut as Violetta -- Caruso as Alfredo

The third performance of the season at the Metropolitan Opera House, which took place last evening, was one of Verdi's "La Traviata." There seemed to be a certain lack of public interest in the work, even though Mr. Caruso's name illuminated the cast in the part of Alfredo. For so many years the public has been accustomed to going to "La Traviata," not to hear Verdi's music so much as to hear it sung by a famous soprano, that a performance with a soprano unknown to fame exercised little attraction upon the operatic public.

The new soprano, who made her first New York appearance as Violetta, was Mme. Lydia Lipkowska. She undertakes a difficult task in satisfying the New York public in parts of which Violetta is a conspicuous example. Not only beauty of voice, but the highest finish of vocal technique, perfection of phrase and brilliancy of ornamental song have been expected as a matter of course in the singing of this music. Mme. Lipkowska did not show the highest excellence in any of these respects, and she therefore does not come into the company of the Opera House as an upholder of the splendid traditions that belong to it. Her accession must necessarily mark the establishment of a somewhat lower level than has prevailed before. Yet on this level she made an agreeable impression last evening.

Mme. Lipkowska is a Russian, and is said to have had experience in important Russian opera houses. Her voice is light and fluent, pleasant in quality, not remarkable for its bloom or brilliancy, yet clear and of carrying power. She shows certain flexibility and skill in the execution of florid music, though the emission of her tones is not always perfectly spontaneous and free from effort. She is sometimes at fault in her phrasing, and there were indeed things that she did in this respect that were strange. Mme. Lipkowska is young and a very gracious figure upon the stage; slender, winsome in feature and natural in action. She is to the eye one of the most attractive Violettas and one of the most plausible that have been seen here in a great while. But she will not be ranked among the great ones.

Mr. Caruso began most beautifully and did some finely artistic singing through the opera. It cannot be denied, however, that he had moments, and more than moments, of labor, when it seemed to be a matter of some difficulty for him to keep his voice under entire control. His Alfredo, except for this, was such a performance as is well remembered. Mr. Amato was the Germont. Mr. Podesti, a new conductor, directed the performance without making any new disclosures of its possibilities and with sufficient authority.

The costuming of this opera, which is subject to the strangest fluctuations according to the taste of stage managers, was, last night, in about the ninth decade of the eighteenth century. It has been done here in the costume of the present day, and one of the most pleasing and appropriate undertakings was to make it of the period of about 1830. But, for some reason, the breeches, stockings and powdered wigs make good their claims.

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