[Met Performance] CID:99140
La Rondine {4} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 04/3/1928.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 3, 1928


LA RONDINE {4}

Magda...................Lucrezia Bori
Ruggero.................Beniamino Gigli
Lisette.................Editha Fleischer
Prunier.................Armand Tokatyan
Rambaldo................Pavel Ludikar
Yvette..................Charlotte Ryan
Bianca..................Philine Falco
Suzy....................Merle Alcock
Perichaud...............Millo Picco
Crebillon...............James Wolfe
Gobin...................Giordano Paltrinieri
Georgette...............Unknown
Gabrielle...............Unknown
Lolette.................Unknown

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

Review signed S. L. L. in the Philadelphia Public Ledger

'LA RONDINE' GIVEN PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE

Superb Performance by Metropolitan Co. Shows Puccini in Lighter Mood

Last evening's performance of the Metropolitan Opera Company, the first Philadelphia presentation of Puccini's "La Rondine," showed Puccini in a new light - virtually as the composer of a waltz opera, for this form predominates over all others in the opera. The work has been described as a little sister of "La Bohème." In a sense this is true - due to their many similar stage situations - but musically the two works have little in common. As a matter of fact, "La Rondine" is totally different from any of the Puccini operas.

The subject and its treatment is much lighter and lacks the tragic elements which spurred Puccini to his greatest works. "La Rondine," except for the last act, in which it might be said to be a little second cousin of "La Traviata," is comedy from the beginning until nearly the end. It also shows Puccini as the composer of a waltz which in various guises runs though the entire opera. Students of chamber music might be interest to note that the first four measures of this waltz are identical, except for a faster tempo with the [first measures] of the slow movement of the Schubert Octet.

Failing Powers Disclosed

The music of the Puccini opera is light throughout, as befits the character of the libretto. It is in the sorrowful close of the last act that the composer shows that the pen which wrote "Bohème" and "Tosca" was no longer at his command. Here, in a situation in which he was at his best in earlier works, he is at his weakest. But the music throughout is cheerful and effective when the subject of the work is considered. The opera as a whole is not great, nor does it add anything to the reputation of Puccini, but it is pleasing and deserves a place in the permanent repertoire.

The performance was superb. Miss Bori, as Magda, and Mr. Gigli, as Ruggero, were splendid. The former particularly proved herself one of the great artists of the Metropolitan and one who would be welcome in this city more frequently. The waltz song of the first act and several other solo numbers showed her at her best vocally, and she was as fine dramatically.

Gigli Proves Good Comedian

Mr. Gigli showed himself to be a better comedian than he has been credited with being, especially in his appearance in the first act as the shy country boy. The shyness, as it is apt to, wore off rapidly in the cabaret scene of the second act. He was in beautiful voice, particularly in the ensemble numbers, with Miss Bori in the second act and in the solo work of the third.

The contrasting roles were admirably taken by Editha Fleischer and Armand Tokatyan, this being a singular distribution of the solo roles, in that there were two sopranos and two tenors. The role of Lisette, sung by Miss Fleischer, is a kind of counterpart of the Musetta of "Bohème," and both she and Mr. Tokatyan showed a fine sense of humor. Mr. Tokatyan also had one of the chief arias in the first act, "Chi il bel sogno," which he sang very finely.

The only other role of importance was that of Rambaldo, well taken by Pavel Ludikar. One of the features of the opera was the beautiful ensemble of the second act, where the chorus was large and very effective singing for four solo voices. The stage settings were superb and twice as the curtain rose drew applause from an audience, enthusiastic throughout the opera. Mr. Bellezza conducted admirably.



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