[Met Performance] CID:120090

Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, December 28, 1936

Rigoletto (216)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Lawrence Tibbett

Vina Bovy

Duke of Mantua
Frederick Jagel

Bruna Castagna

Chase Baromeo

Norman Cordon

Angelo Badà

George Cehanovsky

Count Ceprano
Wilfred Engelman

Countess Ceprano
Charlotte Symons

Thelma Votipka

Lucielle Browning

Ettore Panizza

Désiré Defrère

Set Designer
Vittorio Rota

Costume Designer
Mathilde Castel-Bert

George Balanchine

Rigoletto received five performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the New York Herald Tribune

Metropolitan's First 'Rigoletto' of Season Is Heard

Bovy Sings as Gilda in Place of Andreva, Who Is Too Ill for Debut in Role

Tibbett in Title Part

Jagel, Castagna, Baromeo and Cordon Also in Cast

The first performance of the season of Verdi's "Rigoletto" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House last night. The cast, excepting for the Gilda of Vina Bovy, was a familiar one, with Lawrence Tibbett in the title role, Frederick Jagel as the Duke, Bruna Castagna as Maddalena, Chase Baromeo as Sparafucile, Norman Cordon as Monterone and Mmes. Votipka, Browning and Symons and Messrs. Cehanovsky, Bada and Engelman in less weighty roles.

Mme. Bovy replaced Stella Andreva, who was originally scheduled to make her debut as the jester's daughter, but was prevented from doing so by indisposition. The French soprano, who was first heard here last Thursday evening as the heroine of another Verdi opera, "La Traviata," has some commendable attributes for a felicitous impersonation of Gilda, of which youth and slenderness are not the least important. But Mme. Bovy's singing left some doubt as to whether her voice is wholly adapted to cope with the music Verdi has penned for this part. In "Rigoletto" as in "La Traviata" the soprano has but one florid aria; the remainder of the opera calls for lyric singing with occasional outbursts of dramatic intensity.

Mme. Bovy's delivery of the "Caro nome" aria was in some respects admirable. The scale passages, staccati and other ornaments were carefully negotiated, but in a manner which would have been more appropriate to the doll Olympia in Offenbach's "Contes d'Hoffmann." Her intonation was, for the most part, accurate, but she had the misfortune to end the aria below the true pitch, and the high E in altissimo which she essayed at the close of her scene, as she made her exit, did not quite reach the altitude intended. There were further lapses in tonal purity at various times and there was a disturbing vibrato noticeable at times in the middle register. However, in parts of her duet with Mr. Jagel in the second act, the tones above the staff were of crystalline limpidity. She was less impressive in the impassioned music of the third act.

Mr. Tibbett's delineation of the hunchbacked court fool has grown enormously in some aspects and in other has not yet achieved complete conviction. He did his finest work in the third act. He not only sang superbly his aria, "Cortigiani, vil razza," as well as all of the music in this scene but succeeded in suggesting by his intense acting, the conflicting facets of the character. Here for the first time one felt that Mr. Tibbett truly felt the tragic significance of the father whose daughter has been seduced by the Duke, who he relentlessly hates. The barytone has not yet achieved such complete insight into Rigoletto's nature in the first and second acts, although his singing here, too, was tonally of a high order.

Mr. Jagel sang the Duke's music competently, if not with much intimation of its inherent debonair elegance. Mr. Cordon repeated his excellent characterization of Monterone and Mr. Baromeo was apparently not in the best of voice, but he acquitted himself in creditable fashion. Mr. Panizza conducted with his customary authority. The audience was both large and demonstrative.

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