[Met Performance] CID:123100

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, February 24, 1938

La Traviata (223)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Helen Jepson

Bruno Landi

Lawrence Tibbett

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

Review 1:

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun


Lawrence Tibbett and Bruno Landi Also in Cast

There was a time when a Metropolitan opera singer perfected a new role at the Opera Comique or Covent Garden, but it so more likely these days that such polish will come by way of Hollywood. As evidence, there was a return to the company last night of Helen Jepson, singing Violetta in "La Traviata" for the first time here. But those who were impatient for a preview of her performance could have heard and seen a representative portion of it in a movie last week.

Regardless of background, however, Miss Jepson's Violetta embodies the most skillful singing she has yet done in this house, realizing more of the potential quality and fitness of which the voice is capable than any of her previous performances. From her singing of the [beginning] scene, it was apparent that the music and the text of the part had been thoroughly studied, supplying the basis for a characterization that was both substantially sung and dramatically plausible. It was good to observe the sharp distinction in mood between "Ah, fors'e lui" and "Sempra libera" and if the bravura passages of the first act were not sung with remarkable brilliance, they were firmly on the pitch and honestly articulated.

Moreover, the voice retained its smoothness and texture under stress, rising effortlessly above the orchestra in the ensembles. The second act scene with Germont was affectingly accomplished with an especially well-considered version of "Dite alla giovine" marking the high point of her performance. It was also a pleasure to see a Violetta where tubercular condition was not belied by her figure. Her acting was scarcely dynamic, but it may gain in force with repetitions.

What Miss Jepson lacked in this respect was more than balanced by the vigorous Germont of Lawrence Tibbett. When he had recovered from some excessive cane-shaking on his entrance, Mr. Tibbett lent vocal splendor and an abundance of authority to his part, delivering "Di provenza il mar" in a manner to bring the performance to a halt. The Alfredo was Bruno Landi, who did most of his singing in the early moments of the first act, thereafter forcing his voice relentlessly. Altogether, between expressing love for the tall Miss Jepson and seeing commiseration from the taller Mr. Tibbett, the tenor had rather a difficult evening of it. Ettore Panizza was the conductor. A large audience was generous with its applause.

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