[Met Performance] CID:99320
La Forza del Destino {34} Lyric Theater, Baltimore, Maryland: 04/16/1928.


Baltimore, Maryland
April 16, 1928

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Leonora.................Rosa Ponselle
Don Alvaro..............Giovanni Martinelli
Don Carlo...............Giuseppe De Luca
Padre Guardiano.........Ezio Pinza
Preziosilla.............Marion Telva
Fra Melitone............Pompilio Malatesta
Marquis de Calatrava....Louis D'Angelo
Curra...................Philine Falco
Mayor...................Paolo Ananian
Trabuco.................Giordano Paltrinieri
Surgeon.................Vincenzo Reschiglian

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

Review signed V. P. H. in the Baltimore Sun

Rosa Ponselle Appears In Cast of Verdi Opera

Louis D'Angelo and Giovanni Martinelli Also Heard in "La Forza Del Destino" at Lyric

The Metropolitan Opera Company opened its brief, though brilliant, season last night at the Lyric with Verdi's "La Forza del Destino." As a master of dramatic vocal melody, Verdi will always occupy a high place. There is such sincerity in his music that, even though the situations which give rise to it seem, in this modern day, far-fetched, when all is over and music and drama have done their work of mitigation, there rises a vivid picture of human emotion.

The scene of the opera is laid in Italy and Spain in the eighteenth century. The romance is that of Donna Leonora and Don Alvaro, her lover who, on the eve of their elopement, accidentally kills the father of Leonora, the Marquis of Calatrava. Whereupon her brother, Don Carlos, feels it is his duty to kill his sister and Alvaro in order to avenge his father's death and the honor of the family.

The libretto of the opera is melodramatic and Verdi, with his sense of theater, has used it for a spontaneous outburst of appropriate melody, which begins with the first act and continues throughout the other three. The opera has never enjoyed the wide-spread popularity of some of Verdi's other works, but within the last few years, the Metropolitan forces have accorded it a place in their repertoire.

The first act transpires in the house of the Marquis of Calatrava, who is in somewhat reduced circumstances. Musically, the act is simple, thought it builds up until the momentous occasion when the Marquis is killed, and gives something of the tragic outline which is to follow. The last scene of this act is in the inn and, with the ensemble of muleteers, peasants and servants, furnishes a vivid contrast to the preceding scene.

The church of the Madonna Degli d'Angeli furnishes the background for the second act, which contains one of the loveliest choruses of the performance, that of the monks. The third act is laid in a military encampment in Italy, where Alvaro and Carlos, whose identities are as yet unknown to each other, are the warmest of friends. This portion of the opera includes the intensely dramatic moments between them when their real identity is disclosed.

The fourth and concluding act is laid in Spain in the interior of the cloister of the Madonna Degli Angeli, which shelters Leonora. Vocally, it contains the famous "Pace, pace, mio Dio," and the note of the opera which is given in the dialogue between Melitone and the beggar, who are fed by the monks. Scenically effective, the choruses might have been somewhat better distributed if there had been more space on stage.

The cast included Louis d'Angelo as the Marquis of Calatrava, Rosa Ponselle as Donna Leonora, Giuseppe de Luca as Don Carlos, Giovanni Martinelli as Don Alvaro, Ezio Pinza as the Abbot and Marion Telva as Preziosilla. Vocally and histrionically, Miss Ponselle rose to great heights as Donna Leonora. Being endowed with a voice of incomparable beauty, she again and again caught the poignantly appealing quality of the music and gave it life. Her singing of the "Madre, madre, pietosa" in the second act, the scene with the Abbott in the same act, and the "Pace, pace mio Dio" of the last act, were among the memorable moments of the evening.

No less compelling was the singing and acting of Martinelli. In excellent voice, he imbued the role with power and distinction. Fine singing also was done by De Luca. Particularly effective and dramatic were the scene between him and Don Alvaro. Ezio Pinza as the Abbott, displayed an unusual voice and gave a fine account of himself. Marion Telva as the Gypsy, was a vivid figure, and gave a convincing impersonation of the role. High honors go to the ensembles, who were in fine form. The terpsichorean exhibitions were charmingly given by the ballet.

Honor goes to Mr. Vincenzo Bellezza for the admirable way in which he brought out the beauty of the music and a distinctive performance as a whole.

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