[Met Performance] CID:99510
Rigoletto {171} Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio: 05/3/1928.


Cleveland, Ohio
May 3, 1928

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Giuseppe De Luca
Gilda...................Amelita Galli-Curci
Duke of Mantua..........Beniamino Gigli
Maddalena...............Ina Bourskaya
Sparafucile.............Léon Rothier
Monterone...............Paolo Ananian
Borsa...................Angelo Badà
Marullo.................Millo Picco
Count Ceprano...........Vincenzo Reschiglian
Countess Ceprano........Minnie Egener
Giovanna................Philine Falco
Page....................Paolina Tomisani

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

Review of James H. Rogers in the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Soprano's Voice in 'Rigoletto' Shows Strain of Illness

The glamorous name of Amelita Galli-Curci drew the largest audience of the week, so far, to Public Hall last night. Verdi's "Rigoletto" was the opera, fourth in the current Metropolitan engagement. Mme. Galli-Curci is a famous Gilda. Indeed, more than any other singer, she symbolizes the gracious traditions of the older Italian school. It was precisely in this role of the jester's daughter, unless memory plays me false, that eight or ten years ago, an unknown and unheralded singer, she won, in what was really a chance appearance with the Chicago Opera Company, a success so sensational that the next morning the story of it was front page news in every American newspaper. And from that day to this Mme. Galli-Curci's name has been a household word in this country, a synonym for supreme attainments in the art of lyric song.

Spirit Willing, But -

But - alas, that there should be a "but" - last night her vocal powers did not respond to her bidding. The indomitable spirit was there, but the voice was too light to be effective, although it gained somewhat in volume as the evening progressed, and the quartet of the last act had to be repeated. And throughout the performance the soprano was cordially applauded, for few singers have so devoted a following in this town. I was told that Mme. Galli-Curci had been indisposed for some days. Certainly, she was far from her best; and it would seem that it would have been wise policy to substitute another soprano in her place, a procedure for which the Metropolitan is amply equipped. As it was, the best interests of neither the artist nor the public were served.

Gigli Wins Favor.

The opera was given with the completeness and attention to detail that mark all Metropolitan productions. Beniamino Gigli, tenor with the golden voice, sang his accustomed warmth and beauty of tone, and also with skill in shaded melodic phrase that many a one of his colleagues might well envy him. He was a debonair duke and acted the part capitally. A really great impersonation was the Rigoletto of Giuseppe De Luca. A splendid singer and histrion of high degree. He imbued the role of the jester with moving pathos, emphasizing its grotesque features with remarkable adroitness. It was a poignant and stirring performance. For both Mr. Gigli and Mr. De Luca there were thunderous rounds of applause.

Leon Rothier was the Sparafucile. He looked like a very dangerous villain, indeed, and the little singing he had to do was excellently done. His voice sounded properly ponderous, but it was flexible and musical, too. I haven't seen the part better taken by anybody. Ina Bourskaya was the Maddelena, and Minnie Egener the Countess. The capable veteran, Paolo Ananian, was the Monterone. He played the part well, and sang with intelligence and appreciation of the dramatic values of the lines he had to declaim. Philine Falco was the Giovanna, and Paolina Tomisiani a comely page. And the pretty lengthy cast included, further, Millo Picco as Marullo - competently done-the well-routined Angelo Bada as Borsa and Vincenzo Reschiglian, who gave a spirited portrayal of the role of Ceprano. Maestro Vincenzo Bellezza was again in the post of autocrat of the performance on the stage and in the orchestra pit. The orchestra played with all due expertness and with rich and finely balanced tone.

Contrast to "Norma."

It was interesting to note the contrast in sonority between the score of "Norma," given the previous evening, and the score of the opera in hand. The mastery of all sorts of combinations of instruments, elementary as it might seem in comparison with the work of modern composers, was nevertheless striking, with the simple devices of Bellini lingering in the memory. Quite a pathfinder, after all, the still most popular composer of opera is Giuseppe Verdi.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).