[Met Tour] CID:174450

Il Trovatore
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tue, March 19, 1957

Il Trovatore (292)
Giuseppe Verdi | Salvatore Cammarano
Jussi Björling

Antonietta Stella

Count Di Luna
Ettore Bastianini

Irene Dalis

Nicola Moscona

Helen Vanni

Charles Anthony

James McCracken

Calvin Marsh

Max Rudolf

Review 1:

Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Examiner
“Il Trovatore” Closes Met Season Here

Last night's performance of Verdi's "Il Trovatore" by the Metropolitan Opera Association was the best possible demonstration that the American opera-going public, despite frequent assertions that it wants streamlined nonentities in a Broadway approximation of opera, really likes grand opera with a capital G, sung and acted to the hilt.

The Metropolitan closed its season at the Academy in a blaze of glory last evening, earning a series of ovations that again and again interrupted the performance in mid-scene. And this is quite as it should be, purists to the contrary, in this grand old opera.

Everyone had a wonderful time on both sides of the footlights as Max Rudolf conducted a "Trovatore" that was notable for a blend of nervous energy with an awareness that this is, after all — dispelling another fond theory concocted of late — a singers' opera. Mr. Rudolf made things exciting when they should be and gave the vocalists the opportunities needed to make the maximum effect. It was an exceedingly fine reading.

The performance was significant, because in bringing "Trovatore" over here, the Metropolitan was paying tribute to the centennial of the venerable Academy of Music. One hundred years ago, the Academy staged its first opera, which also was "Trovatore."

Since that time, countless performances of Verdi's opera have been heard in the Academy, but none probably more exciting or fervently received than last night's. The capacity audience was by far the most demonstrative of the season, interrupting aria, duet and trio with lengthy periods of applause.

Rudolf Bing did well by us. He brought us an excellent cast, as well as two new singers that are undoubtedly among the stars of the future.

Antonietta Stella, a lyrico dramatic soprano, who comes from Italy, following in the wake of Callas and Tebaldi, indicates that "the land of song" is still producing topflight singers. Miss Stella has a lovely, warm voice of fine range and power. She negotiated the high D-flat at the end of the first-act trio in effortless fashion, and she shaped her phrases musically. Sometimes she drove her voice, which resulted in unsteadiness, but she was at all times compelling, looking and sounding as Leonora should.

The other debutant was Irene Dalis, Dalis, a California mezzo, arrived at the Met last week by way of Central European opera houses. Miss Delis shows the value of sound routine. She is an artist of temperament with a good mezzo soprano voice which is sometimes driven too hard by the emotion that propels it. She manages to engage and hold one's interest, and should prove a much-valued addition to the Metropolitan roster.

The male roles were admirably cast. It was a pleasure to hear Jussi Bjoerling's lovely, bright tenor in the music of Manrico. He cannot make the stentorian effects of a Del Monaco, but phrases so cleanly and with such taste, as in "Ah si ben mio" (trills and all), that the Swedish tenor makes a distinguished Manrico. He has power, too, as he demonstrated in the final scene.

Ettore Bastianini, possessor of one of the best baritone voices of our day, was an exceedingly handsome Count di Luna. The baritone from Siena was at his best in the later scenes. He seemed tense during a rather laconically sung "II balen," which he could project most beautifully if he but relaxed and enjoyed himself. Mr. Bastianini has gained much freedom in his highest register since last season, and his presence has natural grace and splendid bearing. Nicola Moscona was his usual dependable self as Ferrando, singing with fine resonance.

Mr. Rudolf and the cast were given an ovation at the end of the performance, one of the high spots of the season.

Search by season: 1956-57

Search by title: Il Trovatore,

Met careers