[Met Tour] CID:156660

Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts, Wed, April 11, 1951

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (239)
Gioachino Rossini | Cesare Sterbini
Giuseppe Valdengo

Lily Pons

Count Almaviva
Eugene Conley

Dr. Bartolo
Salvatore Baccaloni

Don Basilio
Cesare Siepi

Jean Madeira

Clifford Harvuot

Alessio De Paolis

Ludwig Burgstaller

Alberto Erede

Review 1:

Review signed R. S. T. in the Boston Herald
“The Barber of Seville”

One thing hasn’t changed in the revamped Metropolitan. That is the consummate showmanship of Giacchino Rossini. Wednesday night’s spirited performance of “The Barber of Seville” wasn’t altered by time or custom. When the composer’s musical well runs day, somewhere toward the end of Act II, there is still the incomparable Salvatore Baccaloni abetted by Cesare Siepi to roll the opera in a happy conclusion in a lather of soapsuds.

Vocally, however, the performance seemed less secure than the characterization. Lynn’s Eugene Conley was the amorous Count Almaviva and lived up to every lyrical moment. Mr. Conley’s command of the bel canto, was clear and resonant although occasionally drowned in the conducting of Alberto Erede. Lily Pons as his vis-à-vis Rosina lacked flexibility in the difficult coloratura of “Io Sono Docile” in Act II while Figaro’s “Largo al Factotum” again came into contention with the orchestra in Giuseppe Valdengo’s dramatically inflected projection, which drew the expected laughter nonetheless.
What really matters in “The Barber of Seville” is good humor to match its bubbling arias. Cesare Siepi, like some carrion crow of ill mien, and Salvatore Baccaloni, squat and foreboding, are a ludicrous pair who team together when song is flowing or slapstick brooding in the wings to lend the proceedings the necessary brio. The “Calumnia” aria is the high point, of course, and last night it came off to perfection.

There is always a danger that the buffoonery of ‘The Barber of Seville” might take precedence over its other qualities but, all in all, last night’s performance struck a pleasant balance. Mr. Conley looked as well as sounded romantic. Miss Pons exhibited restraint. Messrs Valdengo and Siepi played with delicacy and flourish while Mr. Baccaloni has been Dr. Bartolo so long now he could probably sing it in his sleep.

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