[Met Performance] CID:91950
New production
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {127} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/12/1926.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
January 12, 1926
New production


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA {127}
Rossini-Sterbini

Figaro..................Giuseppe Danise
Rosina..................Amelita Galli-Curci
Count Almaviva..........Armand Tokatyan
Dr. Bartolo.............Pompilio Malatesta
Don Basilio.............José Mardones
Berta...................Henriette Wakefield
Fiorello................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Sergeant................Giordano Paltrinieri

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Joseph Urban

[The set designer credit for Joseph Urban did not appear in a company program until the performance of February 11.

In the Lesson Scene Galli-Curci sang Ah vous dirai-je maman from Le Toréador (Adam) and Home sweet home
from Clari (Bishop).]

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received four performances this season.

Review signed S. L. L. in the Philadelphia Ledger

'BARBER OF SEVILLE' GIVEN AT ACADEMY

Metropolitan Performance of 90-Year-Old Opera Shows Decline in Bel Canto Singing

MARDONES DOES BEST WORK

Rossini's "Barber of Seville," 90-years old and still the most perfect of comedies set in the grand opera form, was given by the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York last night at the Academy of Music. Dramatically and scenically, the performance was splendid; orchestrally and more than once in sheer vocal performance it may be added that the opera was composed in the period when bel canto had reached its highest development - and today the bel canto singer is nearly as extinct as the dodo.

Mme. Galli-Curci was the Rosina. It is dramatically the best role in which she has appeared in this city. Last night, however, she was not in good voice and more than once wandered from pitch. Nevertheless, she is one of the few sopranos of the operatic stage who has the technic necessary even to attempt the role of Rosina in its original form. The great aria, "Una voce poco fa," was only moderately well done. Mme. Galli-Curci apparently saving herself for the "lesson scene" in which she did the enormously difficult Mozart-Adam Variations and the highly concertized version of "Home Sweet Home," of Bishop. She was at her best in the Adam Variations. It might be noted that Mme. Galli-Curci's variations from key were in the easiest parts of the opera; in the very difficult vocal portions she sang perfectly in tune.

Armand Totatyan was the Almaviva and more than once the role proved too much for him vocally, especially in the finest aria of the opera, "Ecco Ridente in Cielo," The serenade of the first act. Mr. Tokatyan is by no means a bel canto singer of the quality demanded by this role. His acting was fairly good and grew better as the opera progressed, as was also the case with the numerous ensembles in which he had important parts. Giuseppe Danise has a keen sense of humor and acted well, but the great buffo aria, "Largo all Factotum," seemed to be beyond his powers, both of technic and of tone. Mr. Malatesta was excellent as Dr. Bartolo, although occasionally inclined to overdo the comedy feature.

The great star of the performance was Mr. Mardones as Don Basilio. He scored the success of the evening in the sonorous "Calumny" aria which was superbly sung. He was in magnificent voice, although he always is, at least in Philadelphia, and acted as well as he sang. Even the Metropolitan Opera Company has few stars of the magnitude of Mr. Mardones, who is equally fine in every one of the manifold roles which he assays.

The minor roles were well taken by Henriette Wakefield as Berta; Vincenzo Reschiglian as Fiorello; and Giordano Paltrinieri as an officer. The original plan of the opera, in which the recitatives are accompanied by a piano, was followed, but it would have been better had the orchestra tuned to the piano, which it did not, leaving the singers to change pitch at a moment's notice. They were not always able to accomplish that in the first few notes. Mr. Papi conducted, and even in the comparatively light scoring of the opera, frequently allowed too much tone from the orchestra.



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