[Met Performance] CID:82950
Lucia di Lammermoor {109} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/24/1923.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 24, 1923


Lucia...................Amelita Galli-Curci
Edgardo.................Giovanni Martinelli
Enrico..................Giuseppe Danise
Raimondo................José Mardones
Normanno................Pietro Audisio
Alisa...................Grace Anthony
Arturo..................Angelo Badà

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............James Fox
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert

Lucia di Lammermoor received four performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Herald

Galli-Curci Shares Honors With Martinelli in 'Lucia'

Hundreds are Turned Away From Metropolitan as Diva Makes First Appearance of Season.

There was much rejoicing in the Metropolitan Opera House last evening. Applause was vociferous. Bravi rang to the rafters. Men and women stood packed behind the orchestra rail as tightly as the space would allow. Two hundred or more were turned away, unable to gain admission. Was all this because Mme. Amelita Galli-Curci made her first appearance of the season? The chronicler of musical incidents would like to believe it was, but the truth must be told.

The reception accorded to the "diva" (a singer of the Galli-Curci type is always called "diva," while impersonators of Brünnhilde never are) was only kindly and assuredly not enthusiastic. She was welcomed with what Gilbert would have called "modified rapture." The audience betrayed no signs of excitement until the duet between Mme. Galli-Curci and Mr. Martinelli came to a triumphant conclusion with a prodigiously powerful and high tenor tone which drowned out the dulcet voice of the soprano and evoked prolonged applause.

The opera, too, had a full share of the honors of the evening for into the gladsome night came trooping back three lilting sirens of the vocal past "Quando rapito," "Ardon gl' inovani," "Spargi d'amaro pianto" and the immortal sextet. For the opera was Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor."

It was real good old fashioned opera, no drama per musica, music drama of any of that sort of tall forehand matter, but something with plain tunes for plain people. And, of course, there was the coloratura - runs, roulades, scales, trills, staccato - all the vocal confetti of the lyric carnival season when heroines have made scenes, tenors are despairing lovers, baritones are dark and fearsome villains, and the chorus consists of dramatic critics who stand around behind the actors and make comments on the doings.

"Lucia" is an opera with traditions. It would be agree able to record that last evening's performance revived the best of them. But unfortunately things did not go quite perfectly. Mme. Galli-Curci seemed to be a little tired and she had trouble with the pitch. The beautiful quality of her voice was just as delightful to hear as ever, and her smooth and fluent delivery of her measures was admirable. But it must be confessed that she did not reach her own highest level.

Mr. Martinelli was in full possession of his powerful tones, but seemed unable to temper them to the dynamics of the prima donna, which was unfortunate since it was her evening. Mr. Danise was the Enrico Ashton and sang his music generally well. Mr. Mardones was an entirely competent representative of Raimondo. Mr. Papi conducted.

Review of Deems Taylor in the World

The principal function of a music reviewer, as he is frequently informed - by mail, word of mouth, or telephone - by those whose concerts, recitals and opera performances he happens not to like, is reportorial. "It is of course," run these messengers, "your privilege to criticize adversely what you hear, and even to couch your remarks thereon in a humorous vein, if you desire, but it is only good journalism to tell also what happened and how the audience liked it."

What happened last night was that Mme. Galli-Curci made her first appearance of the season with the Metropolitan Opera Company, singing the title role of "Lucia di Lammermoor," Mr. Martinelli was Edgardo and Mr. Danise Ashton. Mr. Papi conducted.

The audience, so far as this reporter could determine, liked it. In fact "liked" is hardly the word for what the gentlemen who stood downstairs at the left of the proscenium arch and upstairs at the right of the proscenium arch felt about the performance. They applauded the prima donna, when she first appeared, with such length vehemence that her first minute on the stage was entirely occupied in bowing and blowing kisses of acknowledgment.

They applauded Mr. Martinelli, likewise, with scarcely less vigor, and shouted approval to both principals at the end of every big aria and several smaller ones. It was always possible, too, for a serious linguist to tell whom they meant to approve. If they shouted "brava!" that meant Mme. Galli-Curci; when they caroled "bravo!" that meant Mr. Martinelli; when they ululated "bravi!" that meant both. It is so helpful to know the languages.

The rest of the audience, which was extraordinarily large, considering the weather, was slightly more inhibited in its manifestations of approval (we did not hear a single box holder shouting), but it did applaud frequently and vigorously, and gave every sign of complete enjoyment.

To drop the reportorial notebook and don the critical mantle - Mme. Galli-Curci sang well, but not as brilliantly as we have heard her. Her lower voice lacked its accustomed warmth, and her high notes wanted resonance. Also, she seemed to be singing a little below the key with distressing persistence. Mr. Martinelli sounded very loud, seldom dropping below a forte and never remotely approaching a piano. The orchestra too seemed unusually loud when it was loud at all.

All in all, we much admit that we thought last night's "Lucia" a noisy and inartistic performance of an opera that only perfection could make interesting. But who are we against so many?

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