[Met Performance] CID:88470
La Gioconda {73} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/9/1924.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 9, 1924


LA GIOCONDA {73}

La Gioconda.............Rosa Ponselle
Enzo....................Beniamino Gigli
Laura...................Jeanne Gordon
Barnaba.................Giuseppe Danise
Alvise..................Josť Mardones
La Cieca................Merle Alcock
Zuŗne...................Vincenzo Reschiglian
IsŤpo...................Giordano Paltrinieri
Monk....................Louis D'Angelo
Steersman...............Louis D'Angelo
Singer..................Vincenzo Reschiglian

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

Review of Linton Martin in the Philadelphia American

'LA GIOCONDA' GIVEN FINE PERFORMANCE

Gigli and Rosa Ponselle Sing With Notable Art and Beauty

SERAFIN IS CONDUCTOR

With Beniamino Gigli and Rosa Ponselle heading the cast, the woes of "La Gioconda" were set forth at the Academy last night with a vocal opulence that has not be equaled or approached in Philadelphia in years. The Metropolitan Opera management has put forward its best foot in the current revival of this Ponchielli opera; not only did the principal singers give greater distinction to the cast than at any previous performance so far this season, but the work has been staged in the grand manner, although it cannot be said that the sets have the poetic and illusive quality of Joseph Urban's products.

There was also considerable interest in the first appearance here of the new conductor Tullio Serafin, formerly chief conductor at La Scala, Milan. He abundantly justified his reputation, guiding the orchestral forces with a firm but flexible hand and getting the utmost balance and beauty possible out of Ponchielli's score, so that he amply earned the applause which greeted his appearances.

There is probably no finer, more finished singer among the operatic tenors of today than Mr. Gigli, and his admirable art was amply disclosed in the role of Enzo. He delivered the famous "Cielo! E mar!" in the second ct with ringing beauty of tone, and, indeed, his singing throughout the evening was marked by evenness of excellence. If his acting was negligible, that circumstance attracts but slight attention in "Gioconda."

Much of the same may be said, vocally and dramatically, of Rosa Ponselle's performance in the title role as the ballad singer. The color and volume of her voice make it unique among the dramatic soprani, at least when she doesn't soar too high. She carried no great conviction histrionically, but could any singer in such an absurd role?

Special mention must also be made of Giuseppe Danise's Barnaba, the blind mother of Merle Alcock, and the double-dealing Laura of Jeanne Gordon. The two ballets were well done, especially the famous "Dance of the Hours." It was all more than adequate, and hence eminently satisfactory for those who may happen to like this sort of opera, our usual fare these days.



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