[Met Tour] CID:150830

Lucia di Lammermoor
Indiana University Auditorium, Bloomington, Indiana, Mon, May 16, 1949

Lucia di Lammermoor (247)
Gaetano Donizetti | Salvadore Cammarano
Patrice Munsel

Jan Peerce

Giuseppe Valdengo

Nicola Moscona

Paul Franke

Inge Manski

Thomas Hayward

Pietro Cimara

Review 1:

Herbert Kenney Jr. in the Indianapolis, Indiana News

“Lucia” Fails to Draw in I. U. Met Opera Start


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. May 17: The public acceptance, as the advertising fraternity might say, would seem to be at a low state as far as the opera, “Lucia di Lammermoor,” is concerned.


The Donizetti work, with Patrice Munsel and Jan Peerce in the stellar roles, opened the brief Metropolitan Opera season here last night in the Indiana University Auditorium.


One of the smallest audiences to attend a Met performance since the company began its annual visits to the state in 1942 was in the auditorium. The reason for this perhaps was in the choice of the opera, for “Lucia” is hardly a work to send the ticket buyers stampeding to the box office.


In fact, the only reason it apparently survives in the operatic repertoire is that it offers sopranos some excellent opportunities to show off the voice, and the soprano who is immune to that sort of appeal has not yet been born.


Acting Convincing


Miss Munsel, young American-trained singer, was pretty and appealing as the heroine of the tale of love and tragedy. Her voice is a rather small one, although there is a purity of tone and a lyric quality suitable to this type of role.


Her singing gave pleasure and her acting was as convincing as it possibly could be, considering that story is based on a Sir Walter Scott novel that has been Italianized to a greater extent than the language in which it is sung would indicate.


“Lucia” resembles nothing so much as incidental music placed between set pieces for the characters and the chorus. The duets of the lovers, the famous “Sextet” and Lucia oft-sung “Mad Scene,” are spaced between orchestral interludes. And all were accorded the traditional applause which by now has  become as much a part of the score as the music itself.


Peerce made the most of the opportunities written for the tenor role of the hero, who is doomed to meet a tragic end, as does his beloved Lucia. Peerce’s is not a great voice but he uses it with artistry. And there is a warmth to his singing that audiences like.


Beguiling Performance


The others in the cast contributed to what could be judged a beguiling performance, especially Giuseppe Valdengo as the villainous Lord Ashton, and Nicola Moscona, as Raymond. And there should be particular mention for the excellent singing of Inge Manski, who is an alumna of Indiana University, where her mother is a member of the faculty of the School of Music.


Although her role as the companion of Lucia is a comparatively small one, Miss Manski made it something joyous to hear.


Pietro Cimara’s conducting likewise was one of the joys of the evening. He molded a fine performance through the disciplines under which he kept the musicians in the pit and the singers on the stage. The pace was lively, yet it did not distort the melodies for which the opera is famous.



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