[Met Performance] CID:83030
Guillaume Tell [William Tell] {17} Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, Brooklyn: 01/30/1923.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
January 30, 1923
In Italian


GUILLAUME TELL [WILLIAM TELL] {17}

Guillaume Tell............Giuseppe Danise
Mathilde................Rosa Ponselle
Arnold..................Giovanni Martinelli
Walter..................José Mardones
Gesler..................Paolo Ananian
Melcthal................Italo Picchi
Hedwige.................Flora Perini
Jemmy...................Ellen Dalossy
Fisherman...............Max Bloch
Leuthold................Millo Picco
Rodolphe................Angelo Badà
Dance...................Florence McNally
Dance...................Jessie York
Dance...................Jane Overton
Dance...................Jessie Rogge

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

Review (unsigned) in the Brooklyn Standard Union

"William Tell" in Brooklyn

Rossini's "Guillaume Tell," noble relic of a vanished age, was presented at the Academy of Music last night by Signor Gatti-Casazza's Metropolitan Opera troupe. It attracted as large an audience as the opera house could accommodate and proved to be a likable old work, one which, in this restless, hurried, modern world, is worth at least a single hearing. Now nearly century old, there is nothing exciting in the music or libretto of "William Tell." The latter, in fact, fashioned jointly by Messers Hipp, Bis and Jouy (from Schiller), is a thoroughly dead affair when viewed in the dramatic light of this present century. But Rossini's music (barring the several commonplace dances and Tyroliennes) yet retains in many pages an abundant musical vitality. There are many dreary pages, including elongated recitatives and long concerted numbers, but, all elements considered, "Tell" makes easy listening. It entails no intellectual concentration, nor does it disturb or distress the emotions.

Much of its music is fresher today than that of the earlier Verdi works. In fact, Rossini laid the operatic foundation which Verdi later developed so well. There is fine melody in "Tell" (especially in the second act), melody that sometimes rises above tunefulness. The orchestral support is not mere accompaniment, but rather a background of instrumental movement possessing color and variety. The choral ensembles are important, albeit there are too many of them.

It was a well-mounted performance. The Altdorf marketplace scene, with the snow-capped Jungfrau looming in the distance, was especially picturesque. But Signor Rovescalli of Milan, to whom the scenery is credited, has made free with the topography in this set, for the Jungfrau is nowhere near Altdorf. (Geographicians please consult maps).

Not so good was the evening's cast: Martinelli carried the principal tenor role, that of Arnold, son of the patriot Tell, but in love with the tyrant Gessler's sister, Mathilde. His was an opportunity of high notes, and these were impaled with confidence and more or less purity, all at the expense, however, of a vocal equipment cruelly forced. Danise was the Tell, intelligent and generally competent, but nevertheless devoid of large heroic proportions. Ponselle sang Mathilde's single air with some effect, but, truth to tell, her tone was not at all times one of clear beauty. Ananian was the Gessler.

Mr. Papi conducted with an ease and familiarity tending to indicate close study of Rossini's work. But to him is not given that transcendence of imagination or flame of musical temperament necessary to fully illuminate the work. Perhaps of living men Toscanini alone could make "Tell" seem greater that it really is.



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