[Met Performance] CID:97610
Cavalleria Rusticana {254}
Pagliacci {261}
Metropolitan Opera House: 12/16/1927.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 16, 1927


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA {254}

Santuzza................Carmela Ponselle
Turiddu.................Armand Tokatyan
Lola....................Merle Alcock
Alfio...................Mario Basiola
Mamma Lucia.............Minnie Egener

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


PAGLIACCI {261}

Nedda...................Queena Mario
Canio...................Giovanni Martinelli
Tonio...................Titta Ruffo
Silvio..................Everett Marshall
Beppe...................Alfio Tedesco

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

Review (unsigned) in a New York newspaper (unidentified)

RUFFO SCORES IN 'PAGLIACCI'

A lady at the Metropolitan Opera House last night wanted to know if "Pagliacci" is the sequel to 'Cavalleria Rusticana," which is a new variation on the old saw. The two inseparable favorites were sung again with some delightful surprises for all.

Though the Mascagni score is the greatest music, the "Pagliacci" combination won the crowd's favor. This was due to the remarkable work of Ruffo, Martinelli and Queena Mario. The famous baritone was indeed himself. His "Prologue" lived up to the finest traditions and, pleasant to record, Ruffo did not once forget he was the clown, even from the most poignant interpretation of the role we have ever seen. During the moments in which Nedda taunted him, for his laboring love proposals, he rose to heights rarely touched on the operatic stage. His inadequacy before laughter, his stupid, bear-like gestures, his muffled rage and threat of vengeance were qualities which make Ruffo again the perfect artist.

And Martinelli hit the bell! Our fears of the other afternoon were indeed groundless, thank God! And the jovial fellow gave full evidence of his fine powers, recaptured and revisited upon the listeners. When we heard the Martinelli laughter early in the scene, and saw him shaking the mop of brow hair with glee, we knew he had found himself. The "Vesti la giubba" was so exquisitely done that we saw, with tears in our eyes, the vision of Caruso.

Miss Mario was a worthy third to such a trio, and the "Bird Song" trilled gnashingly with the rich fluttering of the orchestral instruments. Mr. Everett Marshall, as the lover, Silvio, had a fine physique, but on hearing him one thinks that the ways of auditions must be strange. Tedesco was an excellent Beppe.

Now of the prelude to the Prologue, "Cavalleria Rusticana"'s Intermezzo was the best part of the act, thanks to Mr. Bellezza and the orchestra. Though Miss Carmela Ponselle brought the house down, after her rendition of "Voi lo sapete, mama," we were disappointed with her. Time was when Rosa and Carmela took equal bows on the side of the vaudeville stage.

But it is not fair to Carmela to be required to sing in the opera house which has leaned to know the magic of Rosa. The voices are of such variant quality, and although the name Ponselle is a valuable property, it is not, we deem, a wise plan for Miss Carmela Ponselle to sing at the Metropolitan Opera House. Mind, she acted the role of Santuzza, with a full sense of its significance of the tragic figure. But the voice was not satisfying.

We were glad for Tokatyan that he was given the role of Turiddu; he never once faltered and never once was disappointing in any way. Basiola, as the teamster, was a little too polite, although sufficiently grim. Mama Lucia, as represented by Miss Egener, was a good listener, which is not always found on the operatic stage.

Generally the "Cavalleria" cast suffers in its Lola. But Merle Alcock killed that tradition last night with a comely and flirtatious wife who could sing. The staging of the Mascagni opus was beautifully done,. The first dozen or so of the villagers, who strolled on the stage at the rise of the curtain, deserve to be well praised; so, too the fellows who tried to prevent the inevitable duel at the end of the play.



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