[Met Performance] CID:85980
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {122} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/16/1924.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 16, 1924


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA {122}
Rossini-Sterbini

Figaro..................Giuseppe De Luca
Rosina..................Amelita Galli-Curci
Count Almaviva..........Mario Chamlee
Dr. Bartolo.............Pompilio Malatesta
Don Basilio.............José Mardones
Berta...................Marie Mattfeld
Fiorello................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Sergeant................Pietro Audisio

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Mario Sala

[In the Lesson Scene Galli-Curci sang Qui la voce from I Puritani and Home sweet home from Clari (Bishop).]

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received two performances this season.

Review signed P. C. R. in Musical America

Galli-Curci returns to Metropolitan in Season's First "Barber of Seville"

For the admirers of Amelita Galli-Curci, the performance of "The Barber of Seville" on Wednesday evening was the outstanding feature at the Metropolitan Opera last week, as it was in Rossini's much-loved work that the celebrated soprano made her season's advent at the house. Incidentally, "The Barber" received its first performance this winter. "Lucia di Lammermoor," with Mme. Galli-Curci again in the leading role, was similarly honored on Saturday afternoon and on Thursday evening "Lohengrin" was added to the season's repertoire.

To the clamorous audience assembled on Wednesday night it soon became evident that Mme. Galli-Curci meant to repay the favor of a warm welcome with some of her best singing, and very quietly she had the standees, to say nothing of the subscribers, delighted. When she settled down to the business of the second act, she gave a fine demonstration of her qualities.

Her song was in her familiar style; flexible, soaring, well under control after the first few moments, but this Rosina seemed to have gained in daintiness and charm since she last came blithely on the Metropolitan stage. And she wore some enchanting costumes, after the manner of operatic Seville. Her scene with Figaro, Giuseppe de Luca on the occasion, was admirably managed. Indeed, throughout the work she acted with an assurance that made for a gay and convincing portrayal of the rôle. Excellent, indeed, she was in the scene with Figaro, but she quickly surpassed this episodic success in the ensuing encounter with Dr. Bartolo, the estimable Pompilio Malatesta.

The audience was demonstrative after the "Una voce poco fa," but Mme. Galli-Curci's best singing was reserved for the lesson scene in the last act. Here she sang the "Qui la voce" aria from "Puritani" with immense popular success. Then, waving the pseudo music-master from his seat at the piano, she moved to the instrument, and, following her custom, gave "Home, Sweet Home," in English. Again and again she was called upon to bow, and in vain the actors attempted to proceed with the scene. A male voice paused in the midst of a scarcely audible recitative, and applause burst out in another storm. Finally Gennaro Papi solved the situation and saved the recently emphasized no-encore rule in the face of the audience by starting the orchestra, and the opera went on to its gay end.

An Amusing "Almaviva"

The cast was excellent generally. Mario Chamlee gave his beautiful voice to the part of Almaviva and at once achieved distinction with his "Ecco ridente." But, like the Rosina, this Almaviva was more than a singing success. Mr. Chamlee has become a fine actor, and he at once struck and sustained the note of highly amusing farce with which the presentation was carried through. His impersonation of the bibulous dragoon in the second act was irresistibly comic. Made up like a rococo antecedent of Bruce Bairnsfather's Old Bill, he rollicked through the scene in a manner and with a felicity of grimace and gesture that left the audience highly delighted.

Mr. De Luca's Figaro is quite well known, and it is one of the best portraits in his considerable gallery. He has a voice and style easily adaptable to the Rossini tradition, and last week he gained an indisputable triumph. Excellent in the first act - and of course his "Largo al factotum" brought him loud acclaim - he contributed much of the good humor to the later scenes, acting always with the unerring instinct of the artist. Jose Mardones gave his customary interpretation of Basilio, a figure of preposterous dignity that realized all the comic possibilities of the rôle. His fine voice rang out sonorously on occasions, and he had his great moment in the "La calunnia" air. Mr. Malatesta's Bartolo has long ago exhausted the list of laudatory epithets, and there seems to be no more to say except that he was at his best. Marie Mattfeld as Berta, Vincenzo Reschiglian as Florello and Pietro Audisio as an Official completed the list. The performance, under Mr. Papi's direction, ran on its lilting way at the required pace.



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