[Met Performance] CID:124400

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, December 22, 1938

Tosca received seven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review in The New York Times


Puccini Opera Missing for Two Years. Is Well Received by a Large Audience


Caniglia as Tosca and Masini as Cavaradossi Applauded - Tibbett the Scarpia

"Tosca" returned to the repertory at the Metropolitan Opera House last night after an absence of more than two years. Puccini's sure-fire thriller was last attempted in March, 1936. Evidently it had been missed. The week before Christmas is a poor one for the opera house as well as the theatre, but there was a large assemblage last night for "Tosca." Not least in this audience were the hundreds of standees. Was it the opera that drew them, or a soprano and tenor who were new here to the rôles of Tosca and Cavaradossi? Probably both the work and the singers had some thing to do with it. In any event, the audience seemed to approve heartily. The applause was thunderous at the end of the acts; the principals had solo bows; the show was stopped after the "Vissi d'arte" and the "E lucevan le stelle."

The new elements in the production were Maria Caniglia's Tosca and Galliano Masini's Cavaradossi. The Scarpia was Lawrence Tibbett, who had, in 1936, the unenviable task of following Antonio Scotti in his finest role. Under Gennaro Papi's careful, and occasionally mettlesome, direction, these three turned in a workmanlike job. This was not yet the "Tosca" of days gone by, but it was an improvement over that of two years ago.

Mr. Masini, who made his Metropolitan debut last week, was a sympathetic Cavaradossi. He seemed at ease in the role and his fresh, ringing voice was heard to advantage. The Metropolitan may consider itself fortunate in the possession of another real tenor.

Miss Caniglia's Tosca was never banal, and in several moments attained emotional drive. Her singing, save in certain forced top tones, was in keeping with the tradition; her "Vissi d'arte" was a high point of the evening. Just before killing Scarpia, her acting was in the "emoting" school. Floria Tosca, of course, should be a woman of temperament, but Miss Caniglia's conception was best when subdued.

Mr. Tibbett's Scarpia has developed since its introduction. Its dominant characteristic is its brush stroke quality. It is strong and forceful, but it could be more subtle in action and more sensuous in vocal treatment.

It was heartening to hear a sacristan, Louis D'Angelo, who sang, not mugged, the role. George Cehanovsky and Alessio De Paolis contributed effective bits.

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