[Met Performance] CID:132460

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, January 2, 1942

Review 1:

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

Sved Is Heard as Iago In Metropolitan "Otello"

Martinelli takes Title Role in Second Performance

The second presentation of Verdi's "Otello" this season at the Metropolitan Opera House last night brought with it a new Iago in the person of Alexander Sved. The otherwise familiar cast listed Giovanni Martinelli in the title role, Stella Roman as Desdemona, Thelma Votipka as Emilia, Alessio De Paolis as Cassio, John Dudley as Roderigo, Nicola Moscona as Lodovico, George Cehanovsky as Montano and Wilfred Engelman as a herald.

Within its circumscribed limitations, Mr. Sved's delineation of the villainous Iago was a competent one. His singing gained in security as the opera progressed. The first act brought with it much tonal unsteadiness and throughout the evening one missed in his work the tonal pithiness which comes with correct vocal production.

This want of focus inhibited a wholly convincing delivery of the "Credo" in the second act, although some of the upper tones were of persuasive texture. The soft tones of the "Sogno" were insufficiently supported and breathy. Some of Mr. Sved's most solid singing was vouchsafed in the duet with Otello, "Si pel ciel," and at the close of the third act.

The impersonation from the dramatic aspect was on the conventional side. It is to Mr. Sved's credit that he did not overact as do most operatic Iagos; but he never seemed fully immersed in his role either.

Mr. Martinelli, although his voice is, of course, no longer what it once was, accomplishes what Mr. Sved does not. He is completely submerged in the music and action of his part, so that even when his tones are not all they should be in quality he moves the listener by the intensity and sincerity of his conception. Miss Roman did some lovely singing, as well as some that was more than a little wobbly. The less weighty parts were again in capable hands; and Ettore Panizza's conducting of the score needs no new evaluation now.

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