[Met Tour] CID:119310

Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts, Sat, March 28, 1936

Rigoletto (212)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Lawrence Tibbett

Josephine Antoine

Duke of Mantua
Frederick Jagel

Irra Petina

Ezio Pinza

Louis D'Angelo

Angelo Badà

George Cehanovsky

Count Ceprano
James Wolfe

Countess Ceprano
Charlotte Symons

Thelma Votipka

Paolina Tomisani

Ettore Panizza

Review 1:

Review signed W. T. C. Jr. in the Boston Herald


In many respects it was an admirable idea to present Verdi's "Rigoletto" as the final opera of the week. The Saturday night audience is usually a mixed one, containing fewer serious music lovers and more people who are out to have a good time. At least so it would seem. And for that reason the familiar tunes and the plot of Victor Hugo's much censored play, "L'Roi s'amuse," were eminently suited to meet such varied tastes. The performance last night apparently succeeded, for the capacity audience gave every indication of pleasure and applauded the principals with an enthusiasm that had no relationship at all to the quality of the interpretations.

Some of the singing, unfortunately, was not up to the general standard of the week and there was much in the presentation to remind one of "Mignon," rather than of "Tannhäuser," "Tristan und Isolde" or "Fidelio." The most obvious link was Josephine Antonine, the young American soprano from Denver, who made her debut here as Philine in "Mignon." She sang Gilda. This role served to clarify one's feelings about her. It was more demanding than that of the other evening and thus brought out both her good and bad points. In this connection it must be said that her characterization was not a great achievement. As far as appearances went she met well the requirements of the innocent girl, indirectly the victim of her father's schemings, for she was slim and attractive to look upon.

But her voice left much to be desired. A light, clear coloratura, it mastered runs in the upper register easily and with technical assurance. Yet in the middle and lower registers it lacked brilliance and the ability to convey deeper impressions and feelings. The "Caro nome" air, great showpiece that it is, was treated with a general unimpressiveness considering the magnificent interpretations that have been given it by other artists. And her acting in the third act was not convincing, at say the least. Mr. Tibbett was a generally satisfactory Rigoletto. His acting of the part of the hunchback jester was admirable and his voice sounded gloriously on occasion. It was commendable, too, to have two Americans in these prominent roles.

As to the others, the Sparafucile of Ezio Pinza was by far the best. His superb bass voice and his quiet and competent acting lifted him above the rest. Frederick Jagel was in better voice than usual as the Duke and Irra Petina, Thelma Votipka and Louis d'Angelo deserved mention for their work as minor characters. Settings and costumes were good and the chorus acquitted itself pleasantly. The orchestra played smoothly under Ettore Panizza's careful direction.

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