[Met Performance] CID:71130
Rigoletto {104} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/14/1919.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 14, 1919


RIGOLETTO {104}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Giuseppe De Luca
Gilda...................Maria Barrientos
Duke of Mantua..........Charles Hackett
Maddalena...............Sophie Braslau
Sparafucile.............Léon Rothier
Monterone...............Giulio Rossi
Borsa...................Angelo Badà
Marullo.................Mario Laurenti
Count Ceprano...........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Countess Ceprano........Minnie Egener
Giovanna................Marie Mattfeld
Page....................Lavinia Puglioli

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

Director................Richard Ordynski

Rigoletto received four performances this season.

Review of Reginald de Koven in the Herald

Although bel canto vocal bravura and fiorituri may now be deemed old fashioned and out of date by admirers of Stravinsky, Prokofiev and other musical Bolshevists, I am more and more of the opinion that they more nearly stand for what the average operagoer considers as opera than the tempestuous psychology, orchestral extravagance, and melodic emptiness which characterize for the most part modern opera, falsely so called.

However this may, be the first performance of Verdi's "Rigoletto" this season at the Metropolitan last night and the return of Mme. Barrientos, called forth emphatic expressions of pleasure and approval from the large audience which were, to say the least, significant and instructive in view of my comment as above.

"Rigoletto" is an old opera and in spite of changing tunes and tastes still remains a great one, and oh, in these lack luster musical times, for the melodic genius of Verdi to infuse modern opera with some new and needed life and vitality. The cast was excellent, and the performance as a whole, with Moranzoni conducting with spirit, taste and authority, well up to the best Metropolitan traditions.

De Luca was a Rigoletto of subtle and sarcastic humor and amply devilish with the cynical hatred of his kind for the physically deformed, yet human at times to the verge of pathos and singing with all the finish and interpretive intelligence of the true artist, dramatic and effective in the extreme. As for Hackett as the Duke - Bonci redux plus a winning and impressive personality and stage presence which the great tenor lacked, with a vocal style at once delightfully facile and finished. But, oh why that voice so white as to seem affected when in impassioned moments it sounds so fully lyric and sweet in quality? In any case a notable national addition to the Metropolitan ensemble. I note with pleasure that he is now plain Charles and no longer "Carlo."

I question strenuously the managerial policy which replaces Mme. Hempel with Mme. Barrientos, who, however, was warmly welcomed on her reappearance as Gilda. Mme. Barrientos struck me as artist and singer, as it were, "en miniature." With all the elegance and delicacy of finish belonging to that style of art, with exquisite fluency of vocal method and a voice both sweet and true, and yet at times almost too faint and fragile for the vast recesses of the Metropolitan. Her "Caro Nome" came to me as a somewhat dim reflection of former great exponents of the role in Metropolitan annals.

Because of Miss Perini's sudden indisposition the role of Maddelena was assumed by Miss Braslau; Rothier was a splendidly sonorous Sparafucile; Rossi made an efficient Monterone; Miss Mattfeld as Giovanna was, as always, artistic, and the various smaller roles were all in capable hands. All the well known numbers like the quartet, "La Donna e Mobile" and others, went with acclaim, and the entire performance was operatic in the best sense and manner.

I could not help wondering what would be the effect, even today, on a modern audience attuned and accustomed to modern operatic emptiness were they to hear an opera like "Rigoletto" for the first time! Rather startling. What?



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