[Met Performance] CID:98940
Rigoletto {168} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/20/1928.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 20, 1928


RIGOLETTO {168}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Giuseppe Danise
Gilda...................Marion Talley
Duke of Mantua..........Beniamino Gigli
Maddalena...............Henriette Wakefield
Sparafucile.............Léon Rothier
Monterone...............Fred Patton
Borsa...................Alfio Tedesco
Marullo.................Paolo Ananian
Count Ceprano...........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Countess Ceprano........Minnie Egener
Giovanna................Philine Falco
Page....................Paolina Tomisani

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

Review of Samuel L. Laciar in the Philadelphia Ledger

Metropolitan Gives 'Rigoletto'

Danise, Talley and Gigli Heard Here in Uneven Performance of Verdi Opera

"Rigoletto" is not on the schedule of any of the three local opera companies this season, so, apparently feeling that the people of Philadelphia should be given a chance to hear the work, the Metropolitan Opera Company gallantly stepped into the breach last evening and presented it at the Academy of Music as the eighteenth of its Philadelphia season of twenty-one performances.

"Rigoletto" as an opera is all right and it contains some of Verdi's most effective melodies and ensembles, but it demands a Rigoletto just as much as "Hamlet" (the play, not Ambroise Thomas' alleged opera) requires a Hamlet - and that is what the Metropolitan Opera Company, at least as far as Philadelphia has been concerned in the last half dozen seasons, has not got on its high-priced and musically exclusive roster.

Mr. Danise, who assumed the role last evening is a singer with a voice of exceptional quality, but, as far as the development of the role goes or its characterization, it is utterly beyond his dramatic abilities. Rigoletto is one of the most exacting baritone parts in the operatic repertoire, the [first] scene of the third act demanding the portrayal of almost every human emotion, vocally as well as dramatically. And even vocally the role does not especially suit Mr. Danise's voice.

The other principal roles were taken by Marion Talley, as Gilda, and Beniamino Gigli, as the Duke. Miss Talley showed that steady improvement in her art, especially in the dramatic branch, which she has exhibited since here first appearance here. Her appearance is ideal for the role, and she scored a great success with the "Caro nome," but her voice, beautiful and free in the middle register, again showed that singular tightening in the higher notes which causes some speculation as to whether this talented young singer is not more of a lyric than a coloratura soprano.

Mr. Gigli was splendid in every way as the Duke. The part is ideally suited to his voice and style of singing and does not require an excessive amount of dramatic ability. The great aria, "Questa e quella," in the first act, the exceedingly difficult "Parmi veder le lagrime" in the second and the graceful but vigorous "La donne e mobile" in the last were masterpieces of singing and won the expressions of approbation which the performance deserved.

Of the lesser actors, Henrietta Wakefield was the best in her interpretation of Maddalena, which was excellent. Mr. Rothier made an impressive Sparafucile. Fred Patton was excellent in the minor role of the much-abused Monterone; and the still smaller roles were taken acceptably by Philene Falco, Paolo Ananian, Alfio Tedesco, Vincenzo Reschiglian, Minnie Egener and Paoline Tomisani. Mr. Bellezza conducted well and the choral numbers, as well as the ensembles, were finely done.



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