[Met Performance] CID:45340
Il Trovatore {73} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/1/1909.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 1, 1909

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Leo Slezak
Leonora.................Johanna Gadski
Count Di Luna...........Dinh Gilly
Azucena.................Anna Meitschik
Ferrando................Giulio Rossi
Ines....................Marie Mattfeld
Ruiz....................Giuseppe Tecchi
Gypsy...................Aristide Baracchi

Conductor...............Egisto Tango

Unsigned review in unidentified newspaper


Sweeps Metropolitan Audience Into Uproar with Lifted Sword


Anna Meitschik's Azucena Disappointing in Upper Notes - Dinh Gilly Sings the Count

Leo Slezak, the gigantic Bohemian tenor, is not in the running with Caruso. Of that there can be no doubt after last night's performance of "Il Trovatore," in which he impersonated, for the first time, his Manrico. Verdi's hero of high C's has several things to express before he comes to the second scene of the third act. Most of these things Slezak sang admirably and in genuine Italian fashion, holding the top notes with true southern fervor and producing, whenever there was sufficient provocation, the most delicious mezzo-voce. He even indulged in tones "morendo," tones dying away into the faintest sort of whisper.

But then came the scene that contains "Ah! Si ben mio" and that irresistible tenor battle horse "Di Quella Pira." Admiration then changed to amazement and amazement to tumultuous enthusiasm. In "Ah! Si ben" Slezak was not perfectly successful, his intonation sagging in a way that had a somewhat disconcerting effect on sensitive ears. But then uncertainty of pitch did not last over into "Di Quella Pira." On his mettle, putting every ounce of energy into his voice, the great Slezak, chest thrown out and head held high, sang the dramatic rhythms of the familiar aria with irresistible temperament.

The first high C, delivered with remarkable freedom and ease, delighted the crowd so much that proceedings were almost interrupted at this point. Quick hisses, however stilled the incipient storm of noise, and Slezak was permitted to bring the scene to a close. As soon as the last high C had been hurled at the crowd, which Slezak did assuming a heroic posture, with sword held high in the air, the thunder of applause that already had begun to rumble burst forth unshackled. So vociferous a demonstration greeted the tenor it seems as if every man and woman was shouting, that the prompter, usually hidden from view, peeped out of his box near the footlights to see what it was all about. Every musician in the orchestra pit too got up in wonder and astonishment. Ten times Slezak had to return and bow his thanks before the noise could be quelled.

Johanna Gadski, who appeared for the second time here as Leonora, made a brilliant, artistic partner for Slezak. In fine voice, she sang the music allotted to her with a limpid beauty of tone and flexibility that one can recall in none of her predecessors in this part. Only in one respect could one have asked for improvement. Mme. Gadski's diction in Italian still reveals Teutonic traits.

As Azucena, in which part she appeared here for the first time, Anna Meitschik proved to be distinctly disappointing. Her deep tones, singularly masculine in quality, were not unpleasant. Her high ones, however, sounded shrill and generally were sung excruciatingly sharp. There was nothing in the contralto's restless and nervous acting to compensate for the faults of her singing.

Dinh Gilly revealed his beautiful baritone - a fine, manly, sonorous voice remarkable in range - to advantage in "Il Balen." Evidently, however, this artist is not quite familiar as yet with the Italian dramatic style . His impersonation of the Count of Luna was stilted. Rossi was the Ferrando. Tecchi the Ruiz, Marie Mattfeld the Inez and Barracchi the Gypsy.

Egisto Tango conducted.

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