[Met Performance] CID:97490
Il Trovatore {159} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/7/1927.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 7, 1927

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Leonora.................Rosa Ponselle
Count Di Luna...........Mario Basiola
Azucena.................Marion Telva
Ferrando................Ezio Pinza
Ines....................Philine Falco
Ruiz....................Giordano Paltrinieri
Gypsy...................Arnold Gabor

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

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

Rosa Ponselle in 'Il Trovatore"

Singer in Role of Leonora Delights Throng at the Metropolitan Opera House

The repertory of the Metropolitan Opera House does not just at present glitter with a golden glory, but the perplexed impresario should not be blamed for that. If Italian musicians persist in devoting their time and energy to the production of revamped sacred dramas, dug out of the catacombs of the fifteenth century, or trying to make plays out of such stuff as "La Nave," what can an opera manager do but hold fast to Verdi? As for the Teutonic masters, whenever one has recourse to them to help him out of his difficulties he gets such a prize as "Violanta." And the Slavs are doing nothing, Rimsky is dead and Stravinsky has turned antiquarian. He could not write an opera anyhow.

So the only thing to do is to make a grand-stand play with "Il Trovatore" and one way to attain this end is to present an unfamiliar Leonora. Last evening the representative of the unhappy lady was Rosa Ponselle, who, so far as this chronicler has been able to ascertain, had rarely sung the role in the course of her nine seasons at the Metropolitan, and not at all here in the last two or three years. Since her recent success as Norma, however, it was inevitable that if the old war horse was to be trotted out she would have the mount. Leonora, like Norma, is a dramatic heroine with florid decorations, and it was a sure wager that Miss Ponselle would sing her music all the better for having cut mistletoe and chanted the grand opera version of "Fair moon, to thee I sing" in Mr. Urban's Druid forest.

She acquitted herself quite admirably last evening bringing to her Leonora not a small measure of that newly acquired grand style which ornaments her impersonation of Norma. Her voice was in good order, and it is a most beautiful voice, which she uses far better than she did four or five years ago. The contralto of the evening was Marion Telva, whose Azucena was commendable, though not distinguished.

Mr. Lauri-Volpi was the Manrico. This role, except in one or two especially lyric passages, such as the air. "Ah, si ben mio," is well suited to this tenor's style. He evoked vociferous demonstrations with his "Di quella pira." Few tenors have ever sung this and "Ah, si ben mio" both well. But so long as Manrico sings the historic high C (even if it be a B flat) in "Di quella pira," all else is forgiven.
Mr. Basiola as the utterly uncomfortable Count di Luna was the other member or the quartet. The audience was of full size, and the standing room resembled storage space for pressed figs.

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