[Met Performance] CID:149470

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, January 13, 1949

Rigoletto (288)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Lawrence Tibbett

Patrice Munsel

Duke of Mantua
Giuseppe Di Stefano

Lucielle Browning

Luben Vichey

Kenneth Schon

Leslie Chabay

John Baker

Count Ceprano
Clifford Harvuot

Countess Ceprano
Inge Manski

Thelma Altman

Pietro Cimara

Review 1:

Review of Cecil Smith in Musical America

Lawrence Tibbett began his 26th consecutive season at the Metropolitan-a term of service not equaled by any other singer now in the company-in the title role of Verdi's "Rigoletto," which appeared in the season's lists for the fourth time. Mr. Tibbett's characterization was again marked by the dramatic projection and human credibility which have long made it an outstanding theatrical conception.

Giuseppe Di Stefano returned to the role of the Duke of Mantua for the first time since his debut, on Feb. 25, 1948. Any tentativeness which may have been apparent at that time had now completely vanished, and he sang the role with the utmost confidence and finesse. Apart from his habit of pushing up to high notes, which may become a bothersome mannerism if he does not correct it, Mr. Di Stefano's performance warranted only the highest praise. His voice sounded remarkably free and beautiful at all times; his phrasing was constantly musical; and he delivered Verdi's melodies with a model legato, yet with the requisite pungency of accentuation. Though his acting did not penetrate far below the surface of the character, he looked well and demonstrated that his stage demeanor is rapidly attaining a polish it has sometimes lacked before now.

Two other newcomers to this season's Rigoletto casts performed their lesser duties satisfactorily- Lucielle Browning, as Maddalena; and Inge Manski, substituting for the indisposed Maxine Stellman, as the Countess Ceprano. Patrice Munsel, Gilda, negotiated the second act duet and aria with tonal stability and charm. The other members of the cast were Lubomir Vichegonov, Kenneth Schon, Thelma Altman, John Baker, Leslie Chabay, and Clifford Harvuot. Pietro Cimara conducted.

Review 2:

Review of Irving Kolodin in the New York Sun

Tibbett Starts Twenty-fifth Year at Metropolitan


The Rigoletto that Lawrence Tibbett tossed on the waters of memory last night in the Metropolitan skipped along like a stone across the twenty-five years since his debut. One bounce carried us back to the first of his Rigolettos, a dozen years ago; another to his Emperor Jones and Boccanegra, another to his fine Wolfram in "Tannhaeuser." Nor was the occasion one merely for retrospect; Tibbett last night was in the best voice he has been for several years, fully qualified for the task at hand.

When he began he was a little disposed to cover his tones, to use them protectively and cautiously. However, he worked more boldly in "Pari siamo," to a full-throated G; and the second act duet with Gilda was freely, fluently sung, with the mastery of word and phrase he so well commands. The old resonance and warmth are still lacking, but what Tibbett had to offer in this "Rigoletto" is ample, in vocal weight and power, to support the dramatic conceptions of his repertory. He had an ovation from the big audience after "Cortigiani," in the third act.

A note in passing on the beginning of Tibbett's twenty-fifth season: his slim, angular physique still bears him youthfully, bound as he was in the straps and pads of Rigoletto. His stage presence, vitality and artistic imagination may well be models for the younger generation of American baritones. The performance was otherwise notable for the verve and ease of Giuseppe Di Stefano's Duke, the believable youth and general vocal discipline of Patrice Munsel's Gilda. Pietro Cimara conducted capably; given a few rehearsals, it might be Verdily, too.

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