[Met Performance] CID:117130

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, March 21, 1935 Matinee

Tosca received two performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Sun

Richard Crooks was to have sung Cavaradossi in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Metropolitan's special matinee yesterday afternoon, but when the opera began he was in the New York hospital undergoing an operation for appendicitis. He had sung at the miscellaneous performance of the previous evening and had been ill then. His place was taken by Mr. Martinelli, who was no stranger in the role. The interest of the performance was confined to the first appearances of Lotte Lehmann in the name part and Lawrence Tibbett as Scarpia. There was a large audience which was singularly undemonstrative in spite of a presentation of Puccini's popular work well worth of its applause.

Both Mme. Lehmann and Mr. Tibbett were hampered considerably by the too frequent outbursts of tone on the part of the orchestra and their efforts to force their voice through marred some of their important scenes. But they both succeeded in imparting dramatic intensity to the performance and in doing some good singing. Mme. Lehmann's voice is well suited to Tosca except when the flights into the upper regions tax it a little. But the quality of the tone is admirably fitted for the expression of the emotions of the heroine.

The impersonation was finely conceived and skillfully executed. One felt all the passion of Tosca, the ardor of her love, the poignance of her suffering, and the depth of the despair which drove her to slay Scarpia. The dialogue throughout was delivered with remarkable finesse and with inexhaustible shades of subtlety. The broad cantilena was all sung beautifully. The "Vissi d'arte" had the note of profound feeling and the external features of good music. In short this was a noteworthy addition to the long list of Toscas which have adorned the Metropolitan stage,.

Mr. Tibbett's Scarpia was filled with dramatic force. He emphasized the violence of the man rather than his cunning and perfidious nature. His first act in particular was brilliantly done. In the second act some of his intentions were surely thwarted by the loudness of the orchestra, but there was enough left to convince the observer that this would develop into a Scarpia of historical importance. In pose, action, and facial expression Mr. Tibbett was the trained artist of the screen.

Mr. Martinelli was in very good form. He seemed to have immeasurable breath and sang some astonishingly long phrases. His voice was more flexible than usual and both his lovemaking and his defiance of Scarpia had nuance and significance. And according to his laudable habit he sang always in tune. Mr. Malatesta was the sacristan, Mr. Bada the Spoletta and Mr. D'Angelo the Angelotti. There were some peculiarities in the stage management, but they may be passed without description. Mr. Bellezzaconducted. "Tosca" has not been heard since the season of '31-.32 when it was given three times with Mme. Jeritza, Mr. Lauri-Volpi and Mr. Scotti. Its belated return to the repertoire was welcome. The new impresario, Herbert Witherspoon, Efrem Zimbalist, Alma Gluck, Frank La Forge, Frances Alda, and the unforgettable Geraldine Farrar were among the auditors.

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