[Met Performance] CID:124050

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, November 25, 1938

Debut : Ruth Chanova

La Traviata (226)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Helen Jepson

Richard Crooks

Lawrence Tibbett

Thelma Votipka

Giordano Paltrinieri

Baron Douphol
Wilfred Engelman

Marquis D'Obigny
George Cehanovsky

Dr. Grenvil
Norman Cordon

Lucielle Browning

Ruth Chanova [Debut]

Ettore Panizza

Désiré Defrère

Jonel Jorgulesco

Boris Romanoff

La Traviata received two performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times


Principals at Metropolitan Helen Jepson, Tibbett and Crooks, Native Born


Performance Proves Vitality of Verdi Opera - Ettore Panizza Conducts

The opera was Italian, and the principals were American. With Helen Jepson, Richard Crooks and Lawrence Tibbett as the headline singers, the Metropolitan Opera had a homebred cast in "Traviata" last night. The fact is stressed, because the management took pains to present the three Americans together. The Metropolitan is proud of its international personnel - Edward Johnson was saying so only yesterday afternoon-but it is equally proud of the high percentage of native singers in the company.

The important point, of course, was not that the leading trio was American, but that these Americans joined in a performance that had as much taste, style and sheer good singing as any that a troupe of artists born and bred in Verdi's homeland and tradition might have. Last night's "Traviata" looked well and sounded well, The opera, which has survived some brutal campaigns, seemed fresh and lustrous; it needed only a sparkling performance to prove that its vitality is undiminished.

Miss Jepson, who is beauteous enough to be in pictures-and, in fact, has been, was a comely Violetta, tall and slender. Moreover, she attracted the ear as well as the eye. Her voice, an agreeable lyric soprano, was employed with intelligence and feeling. She molded her phrases and colored her voice resourcefully. She commanded a filigree pianissimo that was immensely effective in her scene with the elder Germont in the second act. Her impersonation fitted into the framework, and did not dominate it, as some Violettas apparently seek to do.

Mr. Tibbett's Gerrnont was a figure of strength and compassion. His singing did not rely on the power and range of his voice; it had light and shade. and nuance.. Mr. Crooks was a sympathetic Alfredo. In the first act, his voice had something of a nasal quality, hut in the second he produced it to better effect. Throughout the opera he proved once again that he, like Mr. Tibbett, appreciates the values of this score.

Ettore Panizza conducted the opera with restraint and perception. He integrated a performance that won vast approval from a capacity audience.

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