[Met Tour] CID:121510

Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, Sat, April 17, 1937 Matinee Broadcast

Carmen (349)
Georges Bizet | Henri Meilhac/Ludovic Halévy
Rosa Ponselle [Last performance]

Don José
René Maison

Hilda Burke

Julius Huehn

Thelma Votipka

Helen Olheim

Giordano Paltrinieri

George Cehanovsky

Louis D'Angelo

Wilfred Engelman

Ruthanna Boris

Maclovia Ruiz [Last Performance]

Monna Montes

Josef Levinoff

Gennaro Papi

Ponselle's costumes were designed Valentina.

Review 1:

Review of Herbert Elwell in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ponselle Fiery in "Carmen"

The matinee audience had the privilege of hearing one of the Metropolitan's most highly prized stars, Rosa Ponselle, in "Carmen," together with a cast that did ample justice to the vivacious music of Bizet.

There can be little doubt of Ponselle's physical and imaginative qualifications for the part of the wayward cigarette girl, and she makes the most of them to an extent that places her among the greatest of Carmens. With a voice which encounters not the slightest obstacle at either end of the extreme compass of the role, and one which she knows how to color with astonishing variety, she easily outshines the majority of singers who assay this part. But what distinguishes her even more is that her vocal superiority is equaled by her gift for characterization, her extreme sensitivity to the emotional quality of the role, and her ability to give it an unusually personal imprint while conforming to all the conventional requirements and projecting it with all the necessary breadth.

A Carmen That Lives

Here is a Carmen that lives before one's eyes, a being of unleashed animal instincts, a girl with the emotional instability of a child and a lust for power over men that makes her fascinations truly sinister. All this was summed up in Ponselle's flashing eyes and swift changes of mood from ferocious abandon to extreme tenderness and solicitude. She was at once the daredevil gypsy, whose love knows no law, and the compassionate woman with a woman's need for tenderness as well as flattery.

And when she danced as well as when she raged and flung things about or toyed with her amorous victims, she was no bulky prima donna going through the routine, but a fiery, animated creature with as much self-possession and grace as she had of unrestrained fury.

The Don José of Rene Maison fell short of supplying what was needed to play up to so vivid as Carmen. He managed quite successfully to convey the innocent young officer bowled over by the advances of the glamorous girl he was detailed to take to prison, but as her lover he was awkward, and while adequate vocally, he displayed noting to call forth superlatives.

Hilda Burke Wins Praise

Hilda Burke did a creditable job impersonating Micaela and did some praiseworthy singing. Julius Huehn was a dashing Escamillo whose spirited acting attained something of the same fervor embodied by Ponselle, but his singing was not up to the level of excellence he showed earlier in the week, and better renderings of the Toreador Song are well within memory.

The quartet of gypsy smugglers was notable for its ensemble in the tavern scene. These parts were taken by Thelma Votipka, Helen Oelheim, George Cehanovsky and Giordano Paltrinieri. Louis D'Angelo was the Zuniga; Wilfred Engelman, the Morales. The chorus should be credited with good performance and mention should be made of the dance interludes ably executed by the American Ballet Ensemble. The performance was conducted with expertness and authority by Gennaro Papi. And the colorful atmosphere of the opera was promoted effectively by the scenery of Joseph Urban.

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