[Met Performance] CID:96390
La Traviata {146} Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia: 04/25/1927.

(Review)


Atlanta, Georgia
Auditorium
April 25, 1927


LA TRAVIATA {146}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Amelita Galli-Curci
Alfredo.................Beniamino Gigli
Germont.................Lawrence Tibbett
Flora...................Minnie Egener
Gastone.................Giordano Paltrinieri
Baron Douphol...........Millo Picco
Marquis D'Obigny........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Dr. Grenvil.............Paolo Ananian
Annina..................Grace Anthony
Dance...................Rita De Leporte

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

Review of O. B. Keeler in the Atlanta Journal

GALLI-CURCI, GIGLI AND TIBBETT SCORE IN TENDER 'TRAVIATA'

Brilliant first Night Audience Ushers in Atlanta's Greatest Season

After "Traviata" we got two operas as different as the combined modern ingenuity of Puccini and Montemezzi can make them, the second barrel of the bill being especially different - Montemezzi's "L'Amore Dei Tre Re." "Johnny Schicchi" is one of those somewhat ponderous attempts of the grandiose composer to be light and comic.

Great Cast

The Montemezzi opera in the afternoon had a great cast and some people are fond of it. I never could become passionately addicted to orchestration in wholesale lots, but the piece is indubitably loud and noisy, and with Ponselle, Rothier, Tibbett and the great Martinelli extending themselves suitably no one went to sleep. The new conductor, Vincenzo Bellezza, handled "Johnny," and Tullio Serafin has the afterclap.

The Thursday evening bill provided a marked contrast with the [first-night] performance, which was greeted Monday evening by one of the finest and competent audiences that ever turned out for the first night, or a second, third, fourth, fifth or last night either, for the matter of that. Only the slice of pews up the angling sight-line at each side of the dress circle remained vacant. Everything else was occupied. The big week got away to a brilliant start.

Singing Opera

Most Verdi operas are singing operas. Once in a while, as in "Don Carlo," the singing is of the intermittent variety; and once in a while after he fell under the somewhat baleful influence of Richard Wagner, he got ideas of construction and set out making an opera like an office building or a chamber of commerce, which so far as I have been able to comprehend, never helped any opera notably. But in all of his career the lyric Italian never was able to get completely away from the notion that opera primarily was an affair of singing. And "Traviata" is a singing opera; and as singing an opera as "Rigoletto" or "Trovatore" - it is tenuous and ethereal compared with the luscious melodies of those old blood thirsty favorites. But it is a singing opera and it requires quite a coloratura to conduct the hapless heroine from the inaugural party to her graceful finale by pulmonary consumption.

Poor Violetta - she loves life and loving and especially the handsome young Alfredo; and she sings as emotionally as Madame Galli-Curci ever cares to sing. What a wonderful voice she has; like a silver flute for purity and range; and Monday night she was hitting the notes firmly in the middle and there seemed to me just a faintest suspicion of rollicking in some of the cheerier episodes.

Mellifluous Singing

Poor Violetta - she encountered almost everything, including being grievously misunderstood; and Madame Galli supported it all most maliciously, singing duets with Alfredo and Germont and everybody and singing delightfully by herself through the interludes of the rather restrained action. But the piece started with a bang and has one of the finest old drinking songs in opera; and "Libiam pei lieti calici" which, literally translated means bottoms up and plenty of them, Galli and Gigli led this lively ensemble effectively and a few minutes later, the numerous and inconvenient guests having conveniently disappeared, they sing together a charming duet, about a rapturous moment, which really is several moments, and Madame Galli has a couple of arias, really only one aria, which are the composite hope and despair of every female with something she hopes is a coloratura voice. Usually it isn't and "Fors e lui" and "Sempre libera" have been mutilated as furiously as an American picnic by countless vocal devastators. Madame Galli, however, will not let you down. The coloraturer the better, for the great Galli. She has precisely the easiest voice for the sparkling of cold pyrotechnics of Verdi and Donizetti at their most ingenious, and certainly as Violetta she has plenty of opportunity.

Comes now Giorgio Germont in the tall person of Lawrence Tibbett, and following his highly successful scene with Madame Galli he has one with his stage-son, in which he sang with consummate effect one of the sweetest of all baritone arias "Di Provenza Il Mar." in which he endeavors to recall the straying Alfredo to what his papa fancies is his better nature. It is a song of the old home; a sedate and almost stately air; and Monday night Mr. Tibbett's singing of it stopped the show for a considerable time. It probably was the outstanding ovation of the evening, though Madame Galli and Gigli never lacked their share of applause and curtain calls.

Gigli reached his best in the dramatic denunciation of poor Violetta, whom he regards as faithless; and then comes a really tremendous finale, "Alfredo, di questa cor" - the most powerful bit of scoring in the opera, perhaps - and the rest is the pathetic death-scene, admirable done by all the principals. So long as the heroine has to expire from phthisis, it just as well that she can look frail and ephemeral, as Galli-Curci can. It never was convincing to watch Tetrazzini attempt to fade away, a 190 pound specter of her former self.

Ideal Cast

It was not far from an ideal cast for the old singing opera, and they sang it delightfully, to the evident enjoyment of the brilliant audience. Incidental dances by Rita De Laporte and the ballet added color to one of the big scenes of gayety, and Mr. Serafin, of course, gave us a fine reading of a score which is not too heavy - and needs keeping light for the particular and always charming Violetta



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