[Met Performance] CID:122840

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, February 5, 1938

Review 1:

Review of Noel Strauss in The New York Times


Review 2:


Carron and Jessner Are Heard in Verdi's "Otello"

The Metropolitan's sumptuous production of Verdi's "Otello" was staged again last night with two important changes of cast. To Arthur Carron befell the exactions of the name part. Irene Jessner was the Desdemona. Both artists attempted their respective roles for the first time here, but were versed in their duties from appearances abroad in this opera.

Mr. Carron's Otello was vocally dramatically forceful. It seemed to be highly probable from the successful manner with which he met the exigencies of the Moor's entrance music that he possessed sufficient vocal power and breadth of utterance to deal ably with what was to come, and this proved to be true. The part was written for a true "robust" tenor of the utmost volume and integrity - a type of voice almost obsolete nowadays. To approximate something of this wealth of tone, Mr. Carron frequently forced, especially in the higher reaches of his scale. Otherwise he sang admirably, and with fervor and fire.

The tenderness and anguish of the protagonist were less pertinently conveyed in Mr. Carron's conception of the part that relentlessness of purpose and sinister obsession with the idea of revenge. Therefore this Otello wanted enough amorous ardor to make much headway in the love duet in the first act, but impressed more deeply in the episodes where melancholy or rage predominated. His sudden piercing cry "Misera mia," in the duet with Iago, when his suspicions were first aroused, gave the keynote of his portrayal, which reached the climax of effectiveness in the final moments of the second act and the monologue of the third.

Miss Jessner was singing Desdemona in Italian for the second time. Hitherto she had always used the German text, until her recent appearance in the work, in Philadelphia. Probably it was this unfamiliarity with the language that made her interpretation less completely convincing than the others in which she has been heard here to date. Somehow, she failed to arouse sympathy with the heroine to the extent expected. But she sang excellently at all times and particularly in the finale of the third act.

As this was the fifth performance of the opera this season, criticism of the rest of the cast is unnecessary here. Lawrence Tibbett was once more the Iago, Nicolas Massue once more the Cassio, and Thelma Votipka the Emilia. The chorus, the stage direction and the orchestra under Ettore Panizza's knowing baton all lived up to the high standard set at the previous presentations.

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