[Met Tour] CID:153830

Civic Opera House, Chicago, Illinois, Fri, May 12, 1950

Rigoletto (304)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Leonard Warren

Patrice Munsel

Duke of Mantua
Jussi Björling

Jean Madeira

Jerome Hines

Kenneth Schon

Alessio De Paolis

George Cehanovsky

Count Ceprano
John Baker

Countess Ceprano
Inge Manski [Last performance]

Thelma Altman

Jonel Perlea [Last performance]

Review 1:

William Leonard in the Journal of Commerce

Leonard Warren Dominates Metropolitan Opera “Rigoletto”


The Metropolitan Opera’s “Rigoletto” belongs apparently to the man in the title role. Neither the Gilda nor the Duke of Friday’s production at the Opera House was in a class to be compared with Leonard Warren’s tragic jester, and the somewhat routine presentation was dominated from the start to finish by the big baritone who finds in this verdant melodrama one of his finest characterizations. Warren can’t make himself look like much of a hunchback, but in everything else he comes close to being a definitive Rigoletto, for not only vocalizes a grand scale and with consistent excellence, but somehow manages to make touching the plight of this incredible man of villainy, duplicity and father love.

Patrice Munsel, who was forced through illness to miss singing the Met’s last Chicago “Rigoletto,” several years ago, was a Gilda more pleasing to the eye than the ear. Her vocalism has gained in skill in the last few seasons, but her resources haven’t the fresh sheen they possessed in the mid-40’s, a once promising soprano apparently having been overworked too early in her career. She is more accomplished in ensemble and her love duets with Jussi Bjoerling were beautifully balanced though they lacked volume or breadth of tone. As for her “Caro nome,” the customary E simply was not there.

Bjoerling, as the love ‘em and leave ‘em Duke, sounded a bit tired, too, but put bravura into his singing and dash into his histrionism. Neither his nor Miss Munsel’s work was exceptionally weak, but neither of the romantic roles held its own for moment with Warren’s Rigoletto.

Jonel Perlea, worthy young conductor who has shown Chicago some highly intelligent music making this week, directed an accompaniment that was disciplined without losing its sensitivity.

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