[Met Performance] CID:130830

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, February 8, 1941

Debut : Josephine Tuminia

Rigoletto (237)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Lawrence Tibbett

Josephine Tuminia [Debut]

Duke of Mantua
Jussi Björling

Bruna Castagna

Nicola Moscona

John Gurney

Alessio De Paolis

George Cehanovsky

Count Ceprano
Arthur Kent

Countess Ceprano
Maxine Stellman

Thelma Votipka

Edith Herlick

Gennaro Papi

Review 1:

Review of Noel Straus in The New York Times


St. Louis Soprano is Heard as Gilda, with Tibbett in Title Role, at Metropolitan


Björling Appears as the Duke, Gurney as Monterone and Moscona as Sparafucile

In last night's performance of Verdi's "Rigoletto" at the Metropolitan Opera House, Josephine Tuminia made her debut as Gilda in a cast headed by Lawrence Tibbett in the title role. The youthful soprano, born of Italian parents in St. Louis, Mo., made her first appearance on the operatic stage as Rosina in "The Barber of Seville" in 1935 and since has been heard with the Chicago and the Cincinnati Opera Companies. Her work in the difficult part assumed yesterday evening was praiseworthy and evoked an eager response from the capacity audience present.

Miss Tuminia's singing was musical, sympathetic and technically secure. The voice, though very light and of thin texture, was flexible and skillfully used. All of the coloratura passages in the ''Caro nome" display piece were accurately and ably delivered and in the tricky measures following the close of this number Miss Tuminia sang an excellent sustained trill on high B and, thereafter, an E in alt which, if small, was held absolutely on pitch throughout its long duration.

Despite the fine qualities of her singing, Miss Tuminia's tones proved so tenuous that they often failed to make themselves audible in the ensembles. Hardly any measures that lay in the middle and lower registers of the voice came to the ear in the duets with the Duke and Rigoletto and it was impossible for the young artist to achieve the vocal resonance required for the big scene at the end of the third act. But Miss Tuminia never made the mistake of forcing her tones and they were invariably firm and clear, if rather white. Her vocalism was so sensitive and expressive that it was a pity she was handicapped by the insufficient volume of voice at her command.

Mr. Tibbett gave a powerful and deeply impressive performance of the name part and his singing and acting remained on a high plane throughout the opera. Bruna Castagna was an excellent Maddalena; Jussi Björling's Duke, however, proved disappointing. The tenor pushed on his tones and his impersonation brought out next to nothing of the nobleman's character. John Gurney was a stilted Monterone, though he was in his best vocal trim, and Nicola Moscona made little of his one big opportunity as Sparafucile. George Cehanovsky proved a capable Marullo. Thelma Votipka, Alessio De Paolis and Arthur Kent completed the cast.

The presentation moved smoothly on stage and Gennaro Papi provided efficient and spirited orchestral support.

Search by season: 1940-41

Search by title: Rigoletto,

Met careers