[Met Performance] CID:122140

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, December 11, 1937 Matinee Broadcast

La Traviata (219)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Vina Bovy

Nino Martini

John Charles Thomas

Thelma Votipka

Angelo Badà

Baron Douphol
Wilfred Engelman

Marquis D'Obigny
George Cehanovsky

Dr. Grenvil
Norman Cordon

Lucielle Browning

Kyra Blank

Madeline Leweck

William Dollar

Josef Levinoff

Sergei Temoff

Ettore Panizza

Désiré Defrère

Jonel Jorgulesco

George Balanchine

La Traviata received seven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Samuel Chotzinoff in the Post

Thomas Takes Laurels in "La Traviata" at Met

Rest of Performers Fail to Rise Above Mediocrity Says Critic

The first "La Traviata" of the season reached the Metropolitan Saturday afternoon in a performance of, for the most part, astonishing mediocrity. That the house was packed proves that hope springs eternal in the breasts of Manhattan's opera lovers, or that their need for Verdi is so imperious that they are willing to take him in any shape, whatsoever, so long as they get him.

"Traviata" has had, in the past, great days at the Metropolitan. Incomparable artists have sung its principal roles, but ours is not an age of great vocalists and we have come to be resigned to the melancholy fact. Yet, if we cannot have exceptional voices, it is not unreasonable for us to expect the best from what voices we have. If Miss Vina Bovy, who sang Violetta on Saturday, is a meretricious coloratura, she should, at least listen carefully to the prevailing tonality in the orchestra and come to some agreement with it. It is true that Miss Bovy sang only infrequently out of tune and that her acting was in the nature of a pleasant routine. But what shall be said of Mr. Nino Martini, the Alfredo, who sang consistently off-pitch, with no animation, and with a deplorable want of musicianship, whose characterization of the romantic, passionate hero appeared be conceived on store-dummy lines?

Mr. Panizza's contribution to the representation was not less vulnerable than that of his hero and heroine. It is, of course, beyond the power of a conductor to control the intonation of his cast during a public performance. But it seems to be among his prerogatives to marshal his vocal as well as his instrumental forces toward a musically integrated realization of the score of a music-drama like "La Traviata." Strangely enough, the Italian conductor chose to assume the role of accompanist, and to defer to the personal musical whims of the principals on the stage. Nor did he show anything but a routine grasp of the beautiful music in the purely orchestral interludes and in the moments of ensemble when the conductor is obviously master of the situation.

Whatever honors the performance generated went to Mr. John Charles Thomas, who appeared as the elder Germont. Barring some vocal mannerisms, Mr. Thomas happens to be one of the smoothest and cultivated singers of our time. His singing of Germont's arias was not only a fine exposition of voice placement, of legato and of beautiful phrasing, but it was also nobly expressive of the emotions of the situation.

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