[Met Performance] CID:127650

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, January 18, 1940

Otello received three performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Pitts Sanborn in the World Telegram and Sun

Martinelli Sings Role of Otello

John Brownlee Also Included in Met Program

For the first time this season Verdi's "Otello" occupied the Metropolitan stage last evening, and for the first time here John Brownlee attempted Iago. The last two acts of the opera went much better than the first two.

Still, Giovanni Martinelli in the title role was commendable throughout, even if at certain points he spared his voice. In general his portrayal of the Moor was carefully considered and skillfully wrought, and in particular his deeply felt and finely chiseled delivery of the great monologue in Act III will not be forgotten soon by those who heard it. In the final scene, too, he rose to an impressive height.

Mr. Brownlee did best with the narrative of Cassio's dream. There his diction and phrasing were excellent and he colored his tones admirably. Especially good was his use of a tenorish quality for the words of Cassio. Elsewhere his contribution was less effective, and Iago's continual scowling at his unbelief suggested that he had discovered a toad in the turtle soup.

Elisabeth Rethberg sang Desdemona in uncommonly good voice, particularly in the third and fourth acts. Thelma Votipka's soprano was never designed for Emilia's music. Alessio de Paolis supplied a Cassio above the average. Nicola Moscona appeared as Montano. The conducting of Ettore Panizza was one of the laudable features of the occasion.

Even the most cursory report would be incomplete without mention of the group applause, the group cheers and the group shouting for Mme. Rethberg - this last from the cerulean altitudes adjoining the dome of heaven.

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