[Met Performance] CID:85020
New production
Aida {286} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/7/1923.

(Debuts: James Wolfe, Phradie Wells
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 7, 1923
New production


AIDA {286}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Elisabeth Rethberg
Radamès.................Giovanni Martinelli
Amneris.................Margarete Matzenauer
Amonasro................Giuseppe Danise
Ramfis..................José Mardones
King....................James Wolfe [Debut]
Messenger...............Pietro Audisio
Priestess...............Phradie Wells [Debut]
Dance...................Florence Rudolph

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Angelo Parravicini
Costume designer........Ethel Fox
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

[During his first season, Wolfe's name was spelled Wolf in the program.]

Aida received eight performances this season.

Review of R. M. Knerr in Musical America

'Aida' Refurbished

A magnificent new scenic production of "Aida," after designs by Angelo Parravacini of Milan, was disclosed to Metropolitan patrons on Wednesday evening. The impressively massive new settings may have derived something in historical authenticity from the recent excavations in Egypt. The old, vigorous Verdi opera was sung by an excellent cast, backed by an army of choristers, ballet dancers and supernumeraries, all apparently in quite or nearly new apparel.

Elisabeth Rethberg appeared again in the title part, singing with great beauty of tone and acting with greater freedom than in the past. Margaret Matzenauer as Amneris displayed her opulent voice to new advantage and was most regally costumed. Giovanni Martinelli, in his first appearance of the season, gave very fine voice to the part of Radames, singing with refreshing restraint and impersonating the youthful chieftain well. Others in principal parts were Giuseppe Danise, a vocally fine Amonasro, and Jose Mardones, sonorously effective as Ramfis. Pietro Audisio sang the minor part of the Messenger.

Two debuts were made on this evening. James Wolf, Russian bass, formerly with the Chicago Opera, sang the part of the King. His voice seemed a large and effective one, though he was somewhat hampered in the use of it by first-night tension. Phradie Wells, soprano, an American recruit to the company, sang the off-stage music of the Priestess smoothly and well. Roberto Moranzoni conducted a performance that had all the crashing vigor that is its wont. Florence Rudolph led the ballet in the graceful dances of the Triumph Scene.

The new scenery deserves special comment. That for the first two acts including a fine temple interior in which the image of Phta looms imposingly, and a colossal vision of Thebes of the Hundred Gates in which victorious legions enter beneath five triumphal arches, was executed by Vittorio Rota of Milan. The moonlit Nile of Act III displays a vista most imposing. This and the two fourth act sets were painted by Antonio Rovescalli. Best of all is the exterior of the judgment hall, with a grating in the stage floor through which a lurid red light shines from the subterranean trial chamber. This device, as Amneris cowers to hear the verdict of the priests, gives to the scene a thrilling impressiveness formerly lacking.



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