[Met Tour] CID:127270

Mosque Theater, Newark, New Jersey, Tue, December 19, 1939

Review 1:

Review of Sylvia Smith in the Newark Star-Ledger


More than 3,000 Attend Mosque Opera

A glittering, glamorous audience, resplendent in formal attire, taxed the seating capacity of the Mosque Theater last night for the presentation of the opera "Tosca" under the auspices of the Griffith Music Foundation.

A preview of holiday spirit was expressed by the audience, estimated at more than 3,000 persons, who transformed the theater into a richly colorful pageant of silks, satins, furs and sparkling gems. It proved to be one of the highlights of the Griffith Music Foundation's series of offerings this season, both as to enthusiasm among the listeners and the performance of the artists themselves, in the beautifully melodic opera, one of Giacomo Puccini's most appealing.

Dusolina Giannini essayed the title role, Charles Kullman appeared as Mario Cavaradossi, her unfortunate lover, and Lawrence Tibbett was Baron Scarpia, the villain of the piece.

True to the classic tradition of grand opera, the principals all come to a horrible end, victims of each other's passions, but not before each has delivered much magnificent music, severally and singly.


Miss Giannini's voice is one of transcendental power and beauty. Her tonal control and adroit shading are truly inspired and in passages where her woe is almost too much to bear, her voice moved her listeners beyond description. If the mere singing of such an intricate score were all that is required of a performer in grand opera, it might justly be said that her delivery last night was superbly satisfactory.

Unfortunately, however, artists are called upon to run the gamut of emotions in this type of vehicle - a gamut which would bring worried lines to the brows of more versatile actresses. It is this reporter's duty to relate that Miss Giannini's acting is in exactly the opposite direction of her singing.

In short, the prima donna, in many moments of last night's tragedy, brought her performance perilously close to comic opera. Her gesturing, posturing and clumsily affected movements about the stage bordered upon the ridiculous, and were only spared the laughter of the audience because of the beauty of her singing.


In contrast was the acting of Lawrence Tibbett, who, no doubt, still retains much that he learned in Hollywood about keeping in one position in a given spot long enough to give his fellow players a chance to be seen as well as heard. Tibbett, in addition, was in magnificent voice and turned in one of the shining performances of the evening.

Mr. Kullman, too, scored happily in his part. His voice is well modulated, reflects great strength and power and possesses a rich velvety quality, delightful to hear.

The orchestra was expertly conducted by Gennaro Papi, and Fausto Cleva served as chorus master. Desire Defrere is listed as stage director. If Miss Giannini's performance left much to be desired, the fault should be placed at the stage director's door.

Others in the cast were: Louis D'Angelo, George Cehanovsky, Alessio De Paolis, Wilfred Engelman, Arnold Gabor and Irra Petina.

Last night's performance was given for the benefit of the Women's Club of Orange.

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Search by title: Tosca,

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