[Met Tour] CID:131490

Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, Wed, April 2, 1941

Rigoletto (239)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Lawrence Tibbett

Josephine Tuminia

Duke of Mantua
Bruno Landi

Bruna Castagna

Nicola Moscona

Norman Cordon

Alessio De Paolis

George Cehanovsky

Count Ceprano
Wilfred Engelman

Countess Ceprano
Maxine Stellman

Thelma Votipka

Edith Herlick

Gennaro Papi

Review 1:

Review of Elinor Hughes in the Boston Herald


Among the numerous virtues of Italian opera is its tendency to be always doing something - none of those long static periods when a large tenor or a slightly smaller soprano discourses at great length upon some subject incomprehensible to the majority of the audience while the rest of the company either looks bored or frankly turns its back upon the proceedings altogether. If it isn't a good loud guarrell, it's a nice melodramatic plot, a juicy murder or a wholeheartedly sentimental duet. In short, the people out front can have their money's worth and at the same time, even though they may not understand the language, get a pretty good idea of what's going on. In this category "Rigoletto" unquestionably occupies an honorable place and from a performance such as was given last night by the Metropolitan Opera Company, it is easy to see why it has kept its high rating in operatic repertoire; it still is a resoundingly good show. Nothing if not prodigal, Verdi has tossed around his show pieces with lavish hand, and all he asks of his singers is that they do him justice.

There's not much that can be added to previous critical estimates at this late date, so that the main critical interest must lie in the performers. Last night the honors unquestionably went to Lawrence Tibbett, whose portrayal of the sardonic hunchbacked jester should unquestionably rank among the best things he does. His deep tenderness for his daughter, his anguish at her betrayal, his agonized plea to the mocking courtiers, and his final despair at her death were all excellently indicated, and he sang throughout with fine feeling and expression,. The new Gilda, Josephine Tunimia, whose first appearance in the role in Boston this week, unfortunately was not equal to its demands last night. She has a rather small voice, sweet and true, and her singing of the "Caro nome' in the second act was her best achievement of the evening, but much of the time it was difficult to hear her above the orchestra and her pantomime was on the conventional side.

Bruno Landi delivered his two famous arias with dash and intelligence and his singing throughout the evening was admirable. If his acting, which was of the operatic rather than the realistic variety, had matched his voice, his performance would have been more exciting. In the smaller roles there was fine work by Bruna Castagna as a voluptuously handsome and coquettish Maddalena, by Norman Cordon as a fine tragic Monterone, and by Nicola Moscona as the robustly villainous Sparafucile. The orchestra under Gennaro Papi was of the utmost assistance to the enjoyment of the opera, and a capacity audience showed every evidence of enthusiasm.

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