[Met Performance] CID:67930
Rigoletto {98} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/31/1918.

(Debut: Hipolito Lazaro

Metropolitan Opera House
January 31, 1918

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Giuseppe De Luca
Gilda...................Maria Barrientos
Duke of Mantua..........Hipolito Lazaro [Debut]
Maddalena...............Sophie Braslau
Sparafucile.............José Mardones
Monterone...............Giulio Rossi
Borsa...................Angelo Badà
Marullo.................Mario Laurenti
Count Ceprano...........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Countess Ceprano........Minnie Egener
Giovanna................Marie Mattfeld
Page....................Emma Borniggia

Conductor...............Roberto Moranzoni

Review of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun

In these days when so many newcomers are arrived to make themselves heard upon the opera stage, it will need a singer of exceptional worth to capture more than cursory praise. In that small class, however, must be cleared an unhesitating place for the new tenor, Hipolito Lazaro, who appeared for the first time before a New York audience in last night's performance of "Rigoletto" at the Metropolitan. Fifteen curtain calls at the end of the last act was only the final token of the large audience which, at first sight of him, clapped a hospitable hand. Tenors are not indulged with the high pandemonium that greets your new sopranos, but there were many from top gallery down, who cheered the young tenor-he is still in this middle twenties-to the point of needed throat lozenges to-day.

They will need them more than he will. For his voice grew fresher and stronger with each scene when once the nervousness which tightened his throat in the very beginning of the second act was conquered. The freedom of his high notes, their ringing quality and boldness made up for an occasional pinching of tone which, from all promising indications, will disappear when he is more at home with New York audiences. It is full of a pleasing quality, too, and if it can satisfy in other roles as widely and heartily as it seemed to do last night there is little doubt but that the will be a valuable and popular acquisition to the Metropolitan forces. One thing is sure, that he knows how to sing "La Donna e Mobile." Every other tenor does too, of course, but not many of them can go off stage with as easy and fine a taking of high B, and as much applause at their high heels. He is a little fellow, this Lazaro, and, he looks his youth-especially since he plays the atavistic Duke without a Caruso beard. But he has plenty of dash, a straight, jaunty carriage, and he moves about briskly, manfully. There is a lot to like about him at first glance. There will be second and third glances, it was evident from last night's reception.

The return of Mme. Barrientos to her old role of Gilda gave pleasure to those who know and like her style. What careful virtues there are to her Gilda have rarely given better demonstrations of themselves than they did last night. Her return had its warm welcome too. Me. De Luca repeated the Rigoletto, in which his very action is admirable full of character and meaning, and in which his voice joins to make the interpretation so excellent; and Miss Braslau was once more the attractive Maddalena. It is grateful to have her repeating this large role; the fact is a proof, at least a promise of still larger ones. It was a performance of altogether high standards, its results on a level with them, and the coming of Lazaro and the return of Mme. Barrientos giving it just so much extra interest.

Review in The New York Journal

Perhaps the most important matter to the permanently inveterate operagoers in New York was the appearance of the new tenor of the Metropolitan. This sort of operagoer knows that some tenors nowadays remain for a very considerable period at this institution, whether they turn out to be good or bad. Ordinarily, this season one would no longer be greatly concerned over the advent of another new singer of the species, for the additions have been frequent and numerous since last November, and all have become branded as of the tenorecci. But the newest comes via South America, where they are supposed to know one sort from another. This one is Senor Hipolito Lazaro, a Spaniard, and, as a fact, he is of other vocal calibre than the small, smooth bores that have hitherto decorated the scene on Broadway this season.

Senor Lazaro made his debut as The Duke in "Rigoletto" and the Gilda was Mme. Barrientos, another Spaniard, who thus made her reappearance at the Metropolitan. The title role was sung by Giuseppe De Luca and Miss Sophie Braslau was the Maddalena. Altogether it was a performance of unusual suavity and excellence that these four principals, surrounded by a genuine ensemble, and always certainly guided by the directing hand and brain of Mr. Moranzoni, unfolded. Verdi's score has not often in recent years sounded so greatly possessed of the breath of life as it did last evening.

The new tenor made a distinctly favorable impression. He has no difficulty in quite winning his audience from the very outset and was generously applauded then and later throughout the evening. He suffered little from unsteadiness of nerve after the first few moments of his appearance at the beginning of the [first] act and his vocal apparatus therefore, obeyed the muscular mandates he put upon it. Mr. Lazaro appears to be a singer with a genuine tenor voice, and unmistakably of the robusto rather than of the lyric classification. It is a voice of not unusual volume, although quite powerful enough to be easily recognizable as of the sort befitting so large a house as the Metropolitan. Mr. Lazaro sang last night with much smoothness of delivery and excellency within the Italian tradition as to style. Natural beauty infused his tones, which contained no "whiteness' even at their highest.

It will be apparent, therefore, that this singer is likely to become an interesting addition to the company. He was given last evening to some forcing of his voice beyond its natural confines and there was all too little, generally, of the lyric treatment of The Duke's music. His breath support sometimes did not serve him as he probably expected it to, but he has easily the means of remedying this if he so chooses-there is plenty of breath at his command.

Mme. Barrientos's Gilda is one of her most appealing roles and last evening it seemed more so than before. Her singing presented no new features, except possibly that it was more finely spun than last season also. The tricky peculiarities to it were more cleverly covered. Her singing of the "Caro nome" was not only a glistening, dew-besprinkled, cobweb strand of bravura-it was a winningly lovely piece of lyricism. Mr. De Luca was in excellent form-a sterling Rigoletto, and his singing was of fine quality. Miss Braslau and Mr. Mardones, the Sparafucile, were both able supporters to the general excellence.

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