[Met Performance] CID:86920
Guillaume Tell [William Tell] {25} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/25/1924.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 25, 1924
In Italian


GUILLAUME TELL [WILLIAM TELL] {25}

Guillaume Tell...........Giuseppe Danise
Mathilde................Frances Peralta
Arnold..................Giovanni Martinelli
Walter..................José Mardones
Gesler..................Adamo Didur
Melcthal................Italo Picchi
Hedwige.................Flora Perini
Jemmy...................Grace Anthony
Fisherman...............Max Bloch
Leuthold................Millo Picco
Rodolphe................Angelo Badà
Dance...................Muriel Halliday
Dance...................Florence McNally
Dance...................Jessie Rogge
Dance...................Jessie York

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Public Ledger

THE OPERA SEASON

Revival of Rossini's 'William Tell' at Academy of Music

Real old-time grand opera, dramatic, imposing and spectacular, held much of interest for last night's audience at the Academy of Music in the revival of "William Tell." Entirely new to the present generation is this mellifluous masterpiece of Giacchino Antonio Rossini, who is known principally for his great "Stabat Mater" and his sprightly and tuneful "Barber of Seville," which belongs more in the category of comic opera, or, at any rate, the light romantic. But "William Tell" founded on the drama of Schiller and outlining the story of the liberation of Switzerland, answers well to the classification of "grand" in music as well as story.

The performance last night came as a real novelty, as the work had not been heard in this city since May 8, 1896, when it was presented at the Grand Opera House by the Fleischmann-Heinrichs organization. The cast at that time included Maurice DeVries in the title role, Albert L. Guile, as Arnold, Marie Van Cauteran, as Mathilde and Messers Abramoff and Leland, respectively, as Gessler and Rudolph.

The fame of the opera has endured chiefly by means of its popular overture, which has been played by orchestras galore and held in esteem as a perennial favorite. Its performance last night was deferred until after the first act as a prelude to the second. This plainly was to avoid the interruption invariably occasioned by the late-comers, who were again numerous and annoying, not deserving of the deference which enabled them to take their time and still enjoy the overture, the playing of which, under the leadership of Gennaro Papi, was spirited and effective to a high degree.

The story of William Tell, the expert archer who was compelled by Gessler, the cruel Governor of Schwitz and Uri, to shoot at an apple placed on his son's head, and who succeeds in hitting the apple instead of the boy, as his enemy hoped, is familiar, and the incident is made much of in the opera. It was but one of numerous points of interest and sprit in last night's performance, Giuspee Danise, as Tell, making the most of his opportunity and doing some good acting as well as some very excellent singing. His fine baritone seemed to have new power and richness and he was quite at his best throughout.

But the great triumph of the evening was that of Giovanni Martinelli, who accomplished a notable feat in his singing of one of the most difficult of tenor roles, that of Arnold. The music requires the tenor to mind his A, B, C's, for it lies up around these high notes much of the time. But Martinelli's voice is better than ever this season. He is singing with more of lyric smoothness than formerly and with quite as much fervor, and his voice rang out clear, firm and true, surmounting all the difficulties with glowing success. Frances Peralta also scored as the Princess Mathilde, looking stately and handsome and using her clear soprano, of rich sympathetic quality, with the skill of a real prima donna. Also in the cast and all very competent were Adamo Didur, as Gessler; Angelo Bada, as Rudolph; José Mardones, as Walter Furst, Flora Perini, as Hedwig, and Grace Anthony, as Gemmy, son of Tell from whose head the bright red apple was split in half by an invisible arrow.

The opera was magnificently staged with lovely forest glades and realistic waterfalls, while in the spacious marketplace of Altdorf, with its towering row of buildings, there was presented one of the most elaborate and beautiful ballets of the season, with all the ladies of "the corps" and a contingent of marching and dancing Swiss soldiers as well. There was also a fine ballet in the first act, a peasant's dance, these features and the excellent work of the chorus in the many stirring ensembles, adding much to a performance which seemed to give great satisfaction throughout.



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