[Met Performance] CID:130760

Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, February 3, 1941

Review 1:

Review of Louis Biancolli in the World-Telegram

Rethberg Back at Met

Verdi's "Otello" drew a huge gathering to the Metropolitan Opera House last night. The applause for all and sundry was proportionate.

The one change of cast was the return of Elisabeth Rethberg to the role of Desdemona. Giovanni Martinelli was again the jealousy-crazed Moor and Lawrence Tibbett the scheming Iago. Ettore Panizza conducted.

For a good part of the first three acts Mme. Rethberg was uneven. In one or two places the orchestra completely engulfed her. Each of the acts had its compensating quota of lovely singing, however.

With the fourth act she improved tenfold. Constricted top tones were a thing of the past, and the "Willow Song" enjoyed a smoothly poised delivery. Still, it was small-scale vocalism.

But then Messrs. Martinelli and Tibbett also came within small-scale measurements, at least regarding voice. Both operated on a reduced vocal budget, and outlays - especially in the upper brackets - were modest.

The singing in piano and pianissimo passages, though, was the more compelling, as if to make up for dynamic economy in the recurring moments of stress.

As a matter of fact, except for the orchestra and chorus, "Otello" last night, considered as sheer sound, was reduced to chamber opera dimensions.

Alessio de Paolis was the Cassio and Thelma Votipka the Emilia.

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