[Met Performance] CID:122530

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, January 12, 1938

Debut : Bruno Landi

Rigoletto (221)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Carlo Tagliabue

Bidú Sayão

Duke of Mantua
Bruno Landi [Debut]

Irra Petina

Ezio Pinza

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 six performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of G. G. in The New York Times


Bruno Landi Makes New York Debut in Role of the Duke in 'Rigoletto'


Appears in That Character for First Time Here -- Bidu Sayao Is the Gilda

What with the Strauss cycle, revivals of "Otello" and "Don Giovanni," and, of course, the providential Wagnerian enlightenment, the Metropolitan just last night got around to "Rigoletto." As if to make amends to a large house for this delay, the production offered the debut appearance of the tenor, Bruno Landi, who played the Duke, and-new to the Metropolitan-Carlo Tagliabue's portrayal of the title role. Mr. Landi was received most encouragingly, and with the special fervor of delighted Verdians. The new tenor sings pleasantly with a voice of moderate power and acceptable quality. He resorts frequently to a somewhat honeyed half-voice that makes its primary effect not by its musical aptness but rather by its unexpectedness. Generally, however, his singing meets the standards of phrasing obtaining in current performances of Italian opera.

By the most severe Hollywood standards, Mr. Landi is a handsome Duke. Being young, he has no difficulty appearing young; but youth is not all there is in the character. As far as the eye could tell, this Duke was quite a composed, serious and gentlemanly young person. His ardor was politely contained, his levity held safely within the bounds of respectability. Mr. Landi seems to be presuming wholly upon his youthful appearance to supply a temperament which, to the eye much more than to the ear, is not easily discoverable. When his movements and gestures match the feeling in his voice, this may be a convincing Duke.

For Mr. Tagliabue there was equal enthusiasm. His Rigoletto is sung in the broad and leisurely vocalism that, from one aspect, suits this early Verdi. The portrayal is far less satisfying histrionically than musically, Mr. Tagliabue keeping an over-conscientious eye on the conductor, and quite candidly singing to his house. Miss Sayao made a personable and flute-voiced Gilda, who went out of her way to spoil the effect of an excellently sung "Caro Nome" by attempting the off-stage note in the perilous leger lines, and calling quits with a wrench. Mr. Pinza's Sparafucile was sung superbly.

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