[Met Performance] CID:71350
Il Trovatore {131} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/4/1919.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
March 4, 1919

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Giulio Crimi
Leonora.................Claudia Muzio
Count Di Luna...........Giuseppe De Luca
Azucena.................Margarete Matzenauer
Ferrando................Léon Rothier
Ines....................Minnie Egener
Ruiz....................Pietro Audisio
Gypsy...................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Review from a Philadelphia newspaper


Her Success Was Outstanding Feature of Opera Performance

While the hackneyed, threadbare measures of Verdi's "Il Trovatore" do not contain much of inspiration for those of experienced, discriminating taste, the large audience at the Metropolitan Opera House last night where the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York offered this work as a contribution to the week's musical fare would indicate that there are many who enjoy he familiar old opera and find entertainment in its conventional operatic plot. Whatever may be said in commendation of such antiquated forms of musical art, it is certainly possible to extol the manner in which Verdi wrote for his singers. No merely dramatic soprano could essay the Leonora role. Only a glorified combination of dramatic, lyric and coloratura soprano can successfully cope with music that demands no only all styles of technical vocalization, but an exhaustive and interesting variety of emotional expression. Happily, last night's soprano, in addition to an appealing and graceful personality, has a glorious, fresh voice capable of obeying any demand and fulfilling all technical requirements.

Rarely does a soprano combine as many vocal qualities and while Claudia Muzio's voice seems to have many registers, and to be uneven in tone and development, it is really the necessities of the music and her vocal flexibility that produce such results. She was refreshing in her spontaneous and expressive singing, and while the performance of the "Leonora" character does not admit of any departures from the traditional old-fashioned school of stilted, unnatural action, her grace was always a pleasing feature of a fine portrayal of a difficult role. The "Azucena" of Matzenauer is one of the popular contralto's most effective and commanding parts. Her dramatic temperament finds congenial outlet, while her rich, vibrant tones are inspiring in their power and beauty.

The Manrico music should always be sung by a tenor of exceptional endowment. Giulio Crimi was not equal to much of the fine, melodious music that fell to his lot, and while he had some good points vocally, he was by no means an ideal or satisfying figure in this important role. The Count Di Luna of Giuseppe De Luca at least had the melodious tone to recommend it. It seems a shame that a voice of so much natural beauty should be forced so unmercifully. De Luca has a fine vocal quality which he ruins by excessive effort. This fault in turn leads him off the key and results in great detraction from what should be an exceptional performance since he has plenty of temperament and dramatic ability. The orchestral work, under the direction of Papi, had much to do with the singers forcing their tones. The orchestra is a superb instrument, but it is with some conductors an unremitting tyrant, obliging the singers to exert every effort to sing over the unnecessary and inartistic volume of tone and turning the most harmless Italian operas into what formerly was considered in this country true Wagnerian style. Despite a badly-balanced cast and the orchestral conspicuousness, the opera evoked enthusiastic applause and had enjoyable moments.

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