[Met Performance] CID:94530
La Forza del Destino {25} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/11/1926.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 11, 1926 Matinee

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Leonora.................Rosa Ponselle
Don Alvaro..............Giovanni Martinelli
Don Carlo...............Giuseppe Danise
Padre Guardiano.........Ezio Pinza
Preziosilla.............Marion Telva
Fra Melitone............Lawrence Tibbett
Marquis de Calatrava....Louis D'Angelo
Curra...................Dorothea Flexer
Mayor...................Paolo Ananian
Trabuco.................Giordano Paltrinieri
Surgeon.................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............J. Fox Gros
Costume designer........Witold Gordon
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

[Gros designed the sets for the Church of the Madonna, the encampment and the Cloister of the Madonna; the other sets were created by scenic artist J. Fox.]

La Forza del Destino received six performances this season.

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times


Appears in 'Forza del Destino,' With Which She Made Her Debut With Caruso


Bellezza's Conducting Makes Verdi's Opera Sound Fresh and Effective

Verdi's "Forza del Destino" the opera in which Rosa Ponselle made her metropolitan debut with Enrico Caruso on Nov 15 1918, was revived yesterday afternoon in the Metropolitan Opera House. The last previous performance by the Metropolitan was on Feb. 17, 1923. Mme. Peralta then substituted for Miss Ponselle. The cast yesterday restored Miss Ponselle to the title rôle and added an important fresh factor to the interpretation of the opera, namely, the conductor, Vincenzo Bellezza.

It was due largely to Mr. Bellezza's brilliant and dramatic reading of the score that this lurid opera of the earlier Verdi sounded so fresh and often so effective yesterday. The significance of a musical work, especially when it is of uneven and transitional quality, depends in a considerable measure upon the interpretation. Three hours and a half of the banalities and intensities of the music of "Forza del Destino" found an audience intent and interested to the absurd end of the plot, when all but one of the principal characters had either killed each other or themselves, and Mr. Martinelli, sobbing his loudest, was left, regretting that life held untold aeons of misery for him until either he died or the curtain before the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House descended. This was due to a number of factors; not the least of them was the conductor.

Miss Ponselle's debut as Leonora is remembered by this writer. Comparisons with that debut, eight years ago, would be difficult and very possibly inaccurate, but it may be said that the voice has fulfilled its promise as to quality and dramatic capacity, while the art of the singer has materially advanced in the interval. Miss Ponselle did much to enhance the effect of Verdi's melodies, even when they were not the best Verdi; she was genuinely dramatic when opportunity made this possible, and often made much of passages in themselves showy or trivial. A defect not characteristic of her was that on more than one occasion she deviated from the pitch. These occurrences were incidental, accidental too, and not a criterion of an interpretation of much excellence.

Mr. Martinelli naturally sang his loudest quite frequently. Equally, of course, the voice was ample in its ring and power for any climax that the tenor chose to mount. But it is a pity that he did not pay greater heed to roundness and beauty of tone. Mr. Danise showed himself well accustomed to music of a conventional turn. The voice is of secondary quality. The duet of allegiance with Mr. Martinelli was one of many moments that occasioned applause, Mr. Tibbett indulged freely in comedy of the quite obvious kind as Melitone and amused the audience greatly. He apparently has a capacity for making fun which has not been extensively exercised up to the present time and which savored too much of burlesque for his Pogner of "Die Meistersinger." But Father Melitone's role is less exacting in these matters. Mr. Pinza was an excellent Abbott, sonorous, impressive, without undue pompousness or strut.

The chorus singing made one of the best features of the afternoon and somewhat eclipsed Miss Telva, who was in none too good vocal trim, in the "rataplan" refrain of the third act. The opera as a whole was presented in its best light, with vigor, clearness, proportion.

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