[Met Performance] CID:96470
Aida {325} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 05/2/1927.


Cleveland, Ohio
May 2, 1927

AIDA {325}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Rosa Ponselle
Radamès.................Giovanni Martinelli
Amneris.................Julia Claussen
Amonasro................Giuseppe De Luca
Ramfis..................Ezio Pinza
King....................William Gustafson
Messenger...............Alfio Tedesco
Priestess...............Louise Lerch
Dance...................Rita De Leporte

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

Review of Wilson G. Smith in the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Critic Declares [First night] Opera Superbly Given by Metropolitan

In scenic investiture and costuming, with colorful splendor of the Orient, Verdi's spectacular and melody-laden "Aida" opened our brief operatic season at the Public Auditorium Monday night, and held an audience of nearly 10,000 in its thrall through the excellence of its presentation and the enchantment of its dramatic intensity and melodic fascination. Conceived with regal pomp and magnificence, it attains its full realization through the inspired imagination of the master-genius in whom the gift of melodic invention flowed with the purity of the fabled waters of Hippocrene, that mythic fountain sacred to the muses. In "Aida" the motives used have a more than ear-tickling significance; they have a psychological suggestion of true dramatic and emotional meaning.

The significance of the verbal text is revealed in the musical setting. The old Italian style of mere tunefulness was discarded, and both voice and orchestra entered into the revelation of both lyric and dramatic contents. In it Verdi, versatile genius that he was, brought to their fulfillment modern tendencies, but with artistic conservatism, making fluent melody and agreeable sounding harmony the constructive basis. It is for this reason that in "Aida" he has created a work that will endure the coming centuries, for it has no irrelevances; every measure has its trite significance. His creative muse never halted.

Finest Ever Given Here

And its presentation was in full accord with its dramatic and vocal opportunities. It was, without doubt, the finest and most perfect presentation of the opera ever given in Cleveland - a cast that seemed to emulate each other in giving of their artistic best. Ponselle, in the role of Aida, never displayed the glory and splendor of her opulent voice to better advantage. Dramatically and lyrically considered, her portrayal and singing of the role was the ultimate of perfection. To the ravishing beauty of her voice she has added subtle graces of refinement and repressed emotional expression. Claussen portrayed the character of Amneris in regal style, both in her conception of the role and in the splendid use of her vibrant voice. She, too, appreciates the artistic value of refined vocal utterance. The duo scene with Ponselle was a magnificent revelation in impassioned vocalism by both artists.

Martinelli at His Best

Martinelli as Radames, found in it a fitting vehicle for the exploitation of his superb heroic, tenor voice. From "Celeste Aida" to the final act, his voice rang out with clarion richness, and his acting was in conformity with his singing. It could not have been better interpreted if the part had been originally written for him. Of the many times he has appeared here, Monday night was the crowning of his artistic achievements.

De Luca's assumption of Amonasro was, like every role he portrays, an artistic accomplishment. The sympathetic and dramatic qualities of his fine voice were displayed to the best advantage. Gustafson, as the King, and Pinza, as Ramfis, completed with their fine singing a cast that one would travel far - and probably not find - to see equaled. The chorus sang with telling effect in the ensembles, and the ballet added to the general beauty of the scenes with synchronous volutions and graceful gyrations.

I am told that much of the success of the presentation is due to the masterful baton of Director Serafin. As a critical observer I am inclined to believe it, for he certainly gave to the participant's dynamic inspiration. Judging by "Aida" I feel perfectly safe in predicting for the present week the finest series of opera the Metropolitans have yet given us. "Aida" was received by the vast audience ovationally and curtain calls were too numerous to chronicle.

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