[Met Performance] CID:127120

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, December 7, 1939

Debut : Hilde Reggiani

Rigoletto (231)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Lawrence Tibbett

Hilde Reggiani [Debut]

Duke of Mantua
Frederick Jagel

Anna Kaskas

Norman Cordon

Louis D'Angelo

Giordano Paltrinieri

George Cehanovsky

Count Ceprano
Wilfred Engelman

Countess Ceprano
Maxine Stellman

Thelma Votipka

Lucielle Browning

Gennaro Papi

Désiré Defrère

Set Designer
Vittorio Rota

Costume Designer
Mathilde Castel-Bert

Boris Romanoff

Rigoletto received five performances this season.

Review 1:

Review in the Herald Tribune

Hilde Reggiani Makes Debut in "Rigoletto" Role

New Coloratura Soprano Heard at Metropolitan; Tibbett Sings Title Part

The appearance of a new coloratura soprano in the scene always arouses the expectations of those who have heard the illustrious florid singers of the past generation and there is always the hope that a new Melba, Tetrazzini or Galli-Curci will arise to carry on their traditions. It is not Miss Reggiani's good fortune to be a direct descendant of the great line of coloraturas, but she disclosed some attributes which should make her a serviceable addition to the company's forces. She is short in stature and pleasant of feature and her Gilda is a plausible figure to gaze upon, although her acting is of a routine order. The voice itself is clear and carefully produced, so that its youthful edge seldom becomes too keen. Her delivery of the "Caro nome" aria, one of the tests of a coloratura's capacities was clear-cut in outline and the "E" in altissimo, sung off-stage at its close, was pure in intonation and well sustained. Miss Reggiani disclosed little warmth of feeling, either in her love-duets with Mr. Jagel or in the "Vendetta" duet with Mr. Tibbett. In the latter, her sense of pitch was not infallibly accurate. Miss Reggiani apparently shares something of Maria Jeritza's penchant for rolling on the ground; for when Mr. Tibbett, at the close of the third act, hurled her to the ground, the soprano turned over and over until nearly half the stage was traversed. Unhappily, the effect was more humorous than dramatic.

Mr. Tibbett's impersonation of the hunch-backed jester has grown enormously since it was last viewed here. More sparing of gesture, it has gained in poise and expressiveness and for the first time one felt that the baritone had penetrated beneath the surface of the character. Both his enactment of the dénouement of the second act, when he discovers that Gilda has been kidnapped, and his pleading with the courtiers in the third act were genuinely moving, and his singing throughout the evening was superb, revealing a finesse and restraint which contributed immeasurably to the impressiveness of his delineation.

The Duke of Mr. Jagel is a sincere, conscientiously sung impersonation but it wants distinction both in song and action. The most telling work of the performance with the exception of Mr. Tibbett's was that of Mr. D'Angelo as the outraged Monterone. Mr. Papi conducted in his customary experienced manner. The audience was a large one and it applauded Miss Reggiani vociferously after "Caro nome," and Mr. Tibbett, too, came in for his measure of enthusiasm after his "Cortigiani, vil razza" aria in the third act.

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