[Met Performance] CID:85540
Andrea Chénier {20} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/17/1923.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 17, 1923


Andrea Chénier..........Beniamino Gigli
Maddalena...............Rosa Ponselle
Carlo Gérard............Titta Ruffo
Bersi...................Ellen Dalossy
Countess di Coigny......Kathleen Howard
Abbé....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Fléville................Lawrence Tibbett
L'Incredibile...........Angelo Badà
Roucher.................Italo Picchi
Mathieu.................Adamo Didur
Madelon.................Flora Perini
Dumas...................Louis D'Angelo
Fouquier Tinville.......Paolo Ananian
Schmidt.................Pompilio Malatesta
Major-domo..............Pompilio Malatesta

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

Review of H. C. Collins in an unknown newspaper

The performance of "Andrea Chenier" last night brought back to the Metropolitan Opera House two singers who received the warmest of welcomes from a crowded audience. They were Titta Ruffo, who took the part of Gerard, and Mme. Rosa Ponselle, who appeared as Madeline, the heroine of the opera. So insistent was the applause after Titta Ruffo had sung the soliloquy in which he proclaims his obsession with perverted passion, that it seemed as though it would be almost impossible to proceed to his subsequent conversion. He had to stand and bow while the whole house applauded and ecstatic enthusiasts screamed appreciation. When a demonstration is as decisive as that, there seems nothing to be said but to record it. Even the finest of voices rising to the height of an impressive climax hardly seems to justify so vigorous an uproar, but it must be taken as a personal tribute rather than the reaction to the special moment chosen for it.

Mme. Ponselle also had her moments when the natural beauty of her voice made its effect, but her best moments were not those of climax. She and Titta Ruffo together made convincing the scene of his threatened assault, her submission to save her lover and his repentance, but her singing has not that purity of style throughout which the character requires; there were too many moments where she felt her way toward her high notes instead of attacking them direct. Whenever she did this it falsified the tone and in the duet with Mr. Gigli, who again was the Andrea, and an exceedingly successful one, her method contrasted unfavorably with his in the phrasing of similar melodic passages.

Another smaller change in the cast since the opera was given at the beginning of the season was in the substitution of Miss Flora Perini for Miss Marion Telva in the part of the old woman who offers her boy to his country's cause. The part is one which requires a restrained intimacy if it is to be kept in the picture. A singer must not be tempted to try to make too much of it, and Miss Perini rather yielded to the temptation and was in one passage seriously out of tune. The opera as a whole, however, went with a much stronger impulse, and the cast seemed to play more closely into each others hands than was the case earlier in the season. This was partly because Titta Ruffo puts sinew into the revolutionary scenes, but Mr. Moranzoni, who conducted, also had all his forces well in hand.

Review (unsigned) in The Musical Courier

Monday evening, December 17, marked the first appearance of the season of two artists - Rosa Ponselle and Titta Ruffo - with the company. The opera was Andrea Chenier, and Beniamino Gigli reappeared in his familiar title role, singing a beautiful performance which brought him several ovations during the evening. Miss Ponselle as Madeleine was picturesque and charming in the first act and contrastingly dramatic in the later scenes. She is looking much slimmer these days and was in fine vocal form. Miss Ponselle sang her music with tonal beauty and a finesse of style, having lost none of her usual impressiveness. She was warmly received by the audience, principally by the enthusiastic standees.

Ruffo, in the new part of Gerard appeared also to be in fine condition. His beautiful, big tones filled the theater generously and he made much of the role histrionically. He and Ponselle did some especially fine work in the third act, both coming in for a large share of the evening's honors. Kathleen Howard was the Countess, Ellen Dalossy was most satisfactory as Bersi, Lawrence Tibbett sang well as Fleville, and Adamo Didur as Mathieu contributed some clever bits to the performances. Moranzoni gave the score a fine reading.

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