[Met Performance] CID:88420
Lucia di Lammermoor {116} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/5/1924.

(Debut: Toti Dal Monte

Metropolitan Opera House
December 5, 1924


Lucia...................Toti Dal Monte [Debut]
Edgardo.................Mario Chamlee
Enrico..................Giuseppe De Luca
Raimondo................José Mardones
Normanno................Giordano Paltrinieri
Alisa...................Minnie Egener
Arturo..................Angelo Badà

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............James Fox
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert

Lucia di Lammermoor received seven performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" was sung at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening. The opera was brought forward chiefly to provide a medium for the debut of Mme. Toti dal Monte, a soprano who has sung with much favor in Italy and who has already been heard in Chicago. Mme. dal Monte was received most cordially by last evening's audience and will probably become popular with local operagoers.

Printed descriptions of voices are not of great value, but something has to be said, of course. Mme. dal Monte's voice is a good one, a coloratura soprano with lyric qualities, sufficient power and a range quite as extensive as Donizetti's score demands. Last evening she sang some tones which seemed to issue from a throat not well opened and which assumed a wiry and pinched sound. But this may have been caused by the natural nervousness of a first appearance before a strange public.

On the other hand, many of her broader lyric phrases had a warm color and were delivered with an admirable legato. Her phrasing was always good and her taste in ornament not marred by extravagance. Of course, one does not expect any utterances of dramatic passion from a Lucia. If she occasionally becomes gently pathetic it is sufficient, and this Mme. dal Monte accomplished. Her intonation, which is one of the tests of good singing, was correct, but it cannot be said that her voice showed an ideal equalization.

Her florid passages were unevenly done, and this, too, may have been due to nervousness. There was one ascending chromatic scale in the first scene which was flawless, and the trills were nearly always good. Brilliancy was not conspicuous in the coloratura, but it was for the most part musical, though not always clean and sometimes brittle. Her mad scene disclosed an intelligent effort at interpretation, and it was also well sung, especially the cantilena "Ardon ge'incensi." The flute cadenza was done with much care, but was very effective. She was applauded after the scene long, enthusiastically and deservedly.

Mr. Chamlee, who suffered from a cold, sang Edgardo very commendably in the circumstances, and Mr. de Luca, as Ashton, did his duty in a style sanctioned by long tradition. There was also Mr. Mardones perfectly at home in the solemn and static role of Raimondo. Mr. Papi conducted the performance with gusto. The orchestra did not seem to have trouble with Donizetti's instrumentation and Giulio Setti's trained chorus naturally could sing "Lucia" while walking in its sleep.

Review (unsigned) but clearly by Ernest Newman, guest critic from UK in the Post

"Lucia di Lammermoor"

An audience of size and fashion heard Toti dal Monte as Lucia last night at the Metropolitan Opera House in that curious mixture of a Walter Scott romance and a Donizetti score which makes the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor." A debut night it was, and this coloratura soprano, who has sung with assurance in Italy, South America and Chicago, seemed to fake the occasion as an event of the first magnitude in her life. Clearly on her mettle, she made the most of the role, playing it with a sincerity which the libretto scarcely has and making madness graceful in her supreme scene.

For this she was rewarded by applause loud, spirited and long enough to permit recovery from her stage derangement and to justify many happy bows. Her triumph was shared by Mario Chamlee who, despite a cold, sang Edgardo's part with the orthodox Italian gusto, missing none of the tricks presumably proper for the heartbroken tenor.

Giuseppe de Luca, as Lord Enrico Ashton, managed to dominate his poor sister Lucia, particularly in tone. Mardones was an august Raimondo, his voice giving dignity to his scenes, and Bada was lyrical as Arturo. The conductor, Papi, led the orchestra with an energy which had much to do with the undoubted enthusiasm of the audience.

The opera was staged beyond its deserts. The grounds near Ravenswood Castle had a grey grandeur of castle and rock and a gray glory of lake and distance which might well encourage travel to the British Isles. The castle interiors had the Scott glamour and the cemetery was a place of charm. Here indeed was the most worthwhile singing of the opera, for the subdued harmony of the male chorus, picturesque in costume and grouping was a welcome relief.

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