[Met Performance] CID:62330
La Sonnambula {16} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/3/1916.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 3, 1916


LA SONNAMBULA {16}
Bellini-F. Romani

Amina...................Maria Barrientos
Elvino..................Giacomo Damacco
Rodolfo.................Adamo Didur
Lisa....................Lenora Sparkes
Teresa..................Flora Perini
Alessio.................Giulio Rossi
Notary..................Pietro Audisio

Conductor...............Giorgio Polacco

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

La Sonnambula received five performances this season.

Review (unsigned) in the Herald

"La Sonnambula" Revived; Honors to Mme. Barrientos

Bellini's florid "La Sonnambula" or, as we would call it, "The Sleep Walker," was awakened at the Metropolitan Opera House after six years of slumber, and was received with mixed feelings by a large audience that seemed chiefly enthusiastic for Mme. Barrientos, who sang the rôle. Quite apart from its title, it is frankly a sleepy opera, and, although it is a short one, an unusually large number left the house before Mme. Barrientos sang the famous aria, "Ah, Non giunge," which is commonly supposed to be worth all the rest of the opera put together.

It was in many respects an excellent performance. The chief honors were awarded the top notes of Mme. Barrientos. As in other operas in which she has appeared here, the Spanish artist has the trick of enlisting the listener's sympathy in what shreds of dramatic interest attaches to those old-fashioned Italian plots, which were made to order at a time in operatic history when almost any old story was deemed sufficiently important a peg for the composer to hang his tunes upon. Then the music, not the plot, was the thing. And the story of "La Sonnambula" is so silly that the least said about it the better for the cause of its music.

All the sensational qualities of singing previously revealed by Mme. Barrientos were employed with unusual effect - the beauty of her voice, the unimpeachable accuracy of her attack, the daring of her skyscraping staccato, and the swelling on a tone until the climax seemed thrilling - were all in evidence. Yet her singing of the "Ah, non giunge" left something to be desired, for the limited volume of her extraordinary voice in the big spaces at the opera house was more noticeable that at any earlier time. Yet the aria was beautifully phrased and even in its miniature rendition aroused much applause as did her earlier solos.

As her betrothed, Elvino, Mr. Damacco was a disappointment, for his singing lacked beauty and charm of delivery. But Mr. Didur surprised his hearers by unusually good singing of the rôle of the Count Rodolfo, and his artistic, dignified portrayal of the part. Miss Sparkes was good as the conniving Lisa, and Miss Perini's Teresa was acceptable. Mr. Polacco conducted discretely and the chorus sang excellently.

But for all that, it is doubtful if "The Sleepwalker" will remain awake at the Metropolitan very long for, with all the enthusiasm of a revival, the audience drowsed part of the time. It would hardly seem that "La Sonnambula" would become a repertory opera.



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