[Met Tour] CID:98240

Il Barbiere di Siviglia
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tue, January 31, 1928

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (135)
Gioachino Rossini | Cesare Sterbini
Giuseppe De Luca

Amelita Galli-Curci

Count Almaviva
Armand Tokatyan

Dr. Bartolo
Pompilio Malatesta

Don Basilio
Ezio Pinza

Henriette Wakefield

George Cehanovsky

Giordano Paltrinieri

Vincenzo Bellezza

Review 1:

Review in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin


De Luca in Title Role of Rossini's Opera - Galli-Curci as Rosina

A facile performance of Rossini's comedy opera, "The Barber of Seville," was given by the Metropolitan Opera Company at the Academy of Music last evening, distinguished principally by the fine work of Giuseppe De Luca in the title role, the clever Don Basilio of Ezio Pinza and the fluent vocalism of Armand Tokatyan, as Count Almaviva, while Amelita Galli-Curci made her first appearance of the season, as Rosina. Musically the performance was admirable. Vincenzo Bellezza, as conductor, doing well his task of keeping the orchestra from over-assertion, preserving its tonal balance, with much real brilliance, without antagonizing the singers or sacrificing for mere effect the purely melodious quality of the music. Remarkable indeed is the manner in which Rossini, quite at his best and wholly in his element as an operatic composer, fitted his music to the words and used it to radiate and enhance every situation in the book of Cesare Sterbini, founded on the trilogy of Beaumarchais. Such perfect synchronization of text and score is rare indeed.

The Figaro of De Luca is a masterpiece of acting and singing, combining the utmost regard for comedy values with vocal skill and expressiveness. He possesses the rare quality of true bel canto, the ability to produce gradation of modulation of tone with no effort and always with just the right touch. De Luca's oft-praised refinement of artistry was evident in all he did last night, from the famous "Room for the Factotum" aria, with its accelerando finish, in the first act, to the last note that he had to sing, while the flexibility and finesse of his acting were scarcely less notable. Mr. Pinza towered above the others, slender and gaunt of countenance, a truly comic figure in his black robe and broad-brimmed hat, as Don Basilio, the music master, and immensely clever in impersonation, with telling use of a fine, sonorous bass.

Considerable interest was felt, of course, in the reappearance of Mme Galli-Curci. There was little of illusion in her visualization of the supposedly girlish Rosina, though she gave it a touch of vivacity, and she does not seem to have the taste for costuming that might serve to enhance her personal charms - or help to atone for the lack of them. Vocally, the prima donna last evening appeared to be on the wane. The "Una voce poco fa" aria was sung with timid or at least with careful use of tone, at times fluent and sweet, but the volume seems even smaller than formerly, and while she still clings to her favorite device of holding a high tone to a tenuous length, it was with many facial contortions and what seemed to be considerable effort. In the "Lesson Scene" the "Theme and Variations" of Proch were introduced and sung with facility, but with a noticeable lack of brilliance, and after applause that was cordial but not particularly enthusiastic, Mme. Galli-Curci sat down at the piano and, to her own accompaniment, sang "Home, Sweet Home," rather sweetly and with expression, but with the customary unwarranted resort to high-tone adornment at the end. The soprano did some of her best singing in the last act duet with Mr. Tokatyan, when the Count and Rosina finally find love triumphant, after many interruptions. Here too, the tenor was at his best. Mr. Tokatyan was a handsome and courtly Count in the first and last scenes, in the interim well disguised as tipsy soldier and impromptu music teacher of his sweetheart. His voice had the lyric quality and was skillfully used in the first act serenade, the florid measures of which were well executed, if with some unevenness of tone. Pompeii Malatesta again displayed his cleverness as a buffo, in a capital performance of Dr. Bartolo, the susceptible and jealous old ward of Rosina, and wholly competent were George Cehanovsky as Fiorello, Henrietta Wakefield as Berta and Giordano Paltrinieri as an official.

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