[Met Performance] CID:88390
La Gioconda {72} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/3/1924.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 3, 1924


LA GIOCONDA {72}

La Gioconda.............Florence Easton
Enzo....................Beniamino Gigli
Laura...................Jeanne Gordon
Barnaba.................Giuseppe Danise
Alvise..................Adamo Didur
La Cieca................Merle Alcock
Zune...................Millo Picco
Ispo...................Giordano Paltrinieri
Monk....................Louis D'Angelo
Steersman...............Pompilio Malatesta
Singer..................Millo Picco

Conductor...............Tullio Serafin

Review (unsigned) but probably by Ernest Newman, guest critic, in the Post

"La Gioconda" Repeated

"La Gioconda" is based on a plot of gloomy tortuosity true to the older forms of operatic tragedy, and the devotee painfully following the libretto must wonder why the "lion's mouth" was not stuffed with suggestions for action in lunatice inquirendo rather than with accusations of malignancy more suited to a "transit" situation than anything else.

Yet, on such a foundation has been reared a work of riotous splendor of tonal form and color that gives an effect of haughty elegance. Frankly conforming to the traditions of bel canto and interspersed with movements of a sensuous melody, this opera defies the common fate of becoming "hackneyed" in any part, nor are its opportunities of bravura seized upon for attempts at latitude and endurance records by singers of even rudimentary intelligence.

The current presentation of Ponchielli's masterwork at the Metropolitan is in accord with this spirit of the score, and appreciation of the fact by the audience last night was evident. There were spellbound instants, as when (in the "palace" setting) a dancing multitude "froze" in an attitude of prayer, its madrigal subsiding to a vesper chant, and when (in the fete scene) the gesture that exposed Laura's bier, also brought to our ears the distant strains of a rollicking barcarolle that performed the office of a dirge. Such vivid contrasts make up life and constitute moments of reality.

The audience's enthusiasm discharged itself upon the charming coryphes who executed the "Dance of the Hours," and the roughish hussies deserved it. But it was none the less a tribute to composer, management, orchestra, chorus, scenic effects, and principals.



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