[Met Performance] CID:134400

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, January 1, 1943

Review 1:

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times


Mezzo-Soprano Wins Ovation Singing Part for the First Time at Metropolitan


Jacques Gerard in Debut Here as Don Jose - Sir Thomas Beecham the Conductor

Irra Petina started the new year right with the best break of her career at the Metropolitan Opera last night. The illness of Lily Djanel gave Miss Petina a chance at the title role of Carmen, and Miss Petina made sure that in the future she will be assigned to "Carmen" as a matter of right. She proved to be one of the most attractive Carmens that the Metropolitan has had in recent seasons, and, given time and further opportunities, she could easily assume full ownership of the part, one of the plums of the repertory.

Miss Petina's chance came in her tenth year with the Metropolitan. She has established herself as one of the most reliable members of the company. She sings in all the languages and in most of the repertory. Her lot has been usually minor roles and she has always done a good job. Occasionally she has shone in a comic role.

Voice Fits the Part

Her performance last night indicated that she has the talent to be a dramatic singing-actress. There were touches of archness in her Carmen, and not enough suggestion of inner tensions. But she moved and looked like the real thing. Her Carmen was a lissome baggage - young, sprightly and sinuous. Her dancing, whatever one may think of it technically, had gusto. Best of all, her mezzo-soprano had the dark, rich color for the part; it is ample and free and sensuous.

Miss Petina sang the role in San Francisco some months ago, and possibly she has done it on other occasions. There is a record of an appearance in it at Robin Hood Dell in Philadelphia in the Summer of 1933. Last night she sang with the security of one who does Carmen every week. Actually she had only a hurried rehearsal yesterday, and another the day before. Not being a prima donna, she had to sing in "The Barber of Seville" on Thursday and in "Boris Godunoff" on Wednesday. Apparently Carmen was something she could take in stride.

Gerard as Don Jose

Jacques Gerard, singing his first Don Jose here, did a routined, authoritative job. Leonard Warren sang the music of Escamillo sumptuously. Licia Albanese was an artistic Micaela. Frances Greer, Lucielle Browning, George Cehanovsky, Alessio De Paolis, Lorenzo Alvary and Wilfred Engelman rounded out a good cast.

Sir Thomas Beecham, in fine, fettle, conducted with spirit. The capacity holiday audience seemed to be having a grand time, and it gave the pinch-hitting Miss Petina its blessing.

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