[Met Performance] CID:97840
Il Barbiere di Siviglia {133} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/2/1928.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 2, 1928 Matinee


Figaro..................Titta Ruffo
Rosina..................Amelita Galli-Curci
Count Almaviva..........Mario Chamlee
Dr. Bartolo.............Pompilio Malatesta
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Henriette Wakefield
Fiorello................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Sergeant................Giordano Paltrinieri

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Joseph Urban

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received five performances this season.

[In the Lesson Scene Galli-Curci sang Deh torna mio bene (Proch) and Home sweet home from Clari (Bishop).]

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

Galli-Curci sings in 'The Barber'

Prima Donna Makes First Appearance This Season at the Metropolitan

Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday afternoon and Mme. Galli-Curci made her first appearance of the season, singing Rosina. In the minds of most of those present this may have been the most important incident of the matinee. But it was, in fact, secondary, for the accomplishment of the afternoon which out-shone the return of a prima donna was an uncommonly brisk and entertaining performance of the old opera buffa, to which all the members of the cast contributed something and several of them considerably more than the noted soprano. There was some clowning, but no more than the traditions of opera buffa and this work in particular justified, On the other hand, there was an infectious ebulliency of spirit in the representation, unction and elasticity in action and dialogue too often missing. The audience was helpful, for a goodly part of it was able to understand the text and the ripping recitative secco, which was patterned with unusual variety of significance by the singers, went with quite as much effect as the melodic numbers.

Mme. Galli-Curci was excessively confidential in her utterances. She sang her entire role moderato and most of it piano. One felt that a most apt comment on her singing would be her own first phrase "Una voce poco fa," but hardly the second, "Qua nel cor mi risuono." She appeared at times to be striving to produce larger tones, but without result. The quality of the voice, too, was thin and hollow, and there was a complete absence of brilliancy in her delivery. In the lesson scene she sang the antiquated variations of Proch in a dull and listless style except for the easy staccati and followed it with. "Home Sweet Home," given in an equally pallid manner.

The gayety and exhilaration of the performance was due not to her, but to the men. Mr. Chamlee made his reappearance, singing Almaviva, not with great vocal distinction but with bubbling humor and with a quite new pliancy of action. His drunken soldier was very drunk and deliciously comic, and his false priest was an excellent caricature of a totally different type. There was also the stalwart Titta Ruffo as Figaro a rollicking, prancing, voluble bully of a barber, who cooperated admirably with his fellow artists and kept the fun going whenever he was on the stage. The Don Basilio was Ezio Pinza who gave one of the best impersonations of the village organist seen on the Metropolitan stage certainly since the days of Edouard de Reszke. His action, gesture and facial expression were all nicely fitted to the scene and not overdone, and he sang the famous "La Calumnia" with a deadly seriousness which carried the air to its exact point. These have been all kinds of successes with Don Basilio, but Mr. Pinza's was thoroughly legitimate and it quickly won its way with the audience.

Pompilio Malatesta was the Dr. Bartolo and Miss Wakefield the Berta, Mr. Bellezza conducted accurately except when Mme. Galli-Curci took him by surprise by finishing her last phrase in the Proch variations before he expected her to do so. At this point there was a little orchestral scramble, but it did not detract from the general merit of the accompaniment.

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