[Met Performance] CID:53360
Otello {48} Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York: 02/27/1912.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
February 27, 1912


OTELLO {48}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Leo Slezak
Desdemona...............Frances Alda
Iago....................Antonio Scotti
Emilia..................Jeanne Maubourg
Cassio..................Angelo Badà
Lodovico................Andrés De Segurola
Montàno.................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Roderigo................Pietro Audisio
Herald..................Bernard Bégué

Conductor...............Giuseppe Sturani

Unsigned review in the Brooklyn Eagle

MR. SLEZAK AND MME. ALDA IN A BRILLIANT "OTELLO"

By Metropolitan Opera Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

SCOTTI'S SUBTLTY AS IAGO.

Performance Distinguished as Much by Acting as by Musical Excellence.

It was a brilliant production of "Otello" that was presented at the Academy of Music last night, by the Metropolitan Opera Company, a production that was distinguished for emotional acting that raised it far above the standard too often set by some of the grand opera performers. Taking into consideration the fact that Verdi's transcription of Shakespeare's tragedy fairly brims over with lyric passages that present very little opportunity for dramatic action, the success of the production becomes all the more remarkable. In those passages that gave opportunity for realism in stage work the singers, fairly stepped out of their operatic roles, in case sense, and became actors. This was particularly true in the last act, in the death scene of Desdemona and Otello.

Leo Slezak was masterful as Otello. The singer's nearly giant physique particularly adapts him for this role; and it is taken in conjunction with his feeling interpretation of the part of the husband tortured with jealousy, gave to the production both the strength and melancholy that is its chief charm.

Mme. Alda Was Also Especially Fitted For Her Rôle.

No singer on the Metropolitan stage today is better adapted to the part of Desdemona as played opposite to Slezak's Otello, than Frances Alda. Every delicate shade of fine character was portrayed with a fidelity that appeared little short of remarkable. Scotti as Iago and Jeanne Maubourg as Emilia lent additional strength to the cast.

From a musical standpoint, the opera was equally successful. The conductor was Giuseppe Sturani, and, in notable contradistinction to some of his unsympathetic work earlier in the season, he kept the big orchestra in line with every requirement in rhythm and force. The result was that the opera went through with snap and zest necessary to its success.

Each singer appeared to advantage, though, of course, Slezak's personality dominated throughout. The one regret was that the opera did not afford more opportunities for individual work. The rapid succession of movements and the intricate changes of themes, one of the most delightful aspects of Verdi's opera from the standpoint of the music-lover, gives but little opportunity for the individual singers to arouse their audience to enthusiasm over any particular aria.

Where Some of the Singers Especially Shone.

One exception to this is, of course, the Willow Song, which was given by Mme. Alda with artistic accuracy and with great feeling. The duet by Scotti and Slezak at the end of the second act and the quartet at the end of the third act were also greatly enjoyed.

Though it is a minor part, Miss. Maubourg was seen to advantage on every occasion of her appearance. Angelo Bada was a very effective Cassio, and Pietro Audiso sang. The chorus work was particularly effective.



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