Sunday, 18 November 2012

Barber of Seville Metropolitan Opera 1938

Thomas as Figaro
The Barber of Seville returned to the Met in 1938 for the first time in 6 years with a new Figaro and new Count. American baritone John Charles Thomas (1891-1960) really made his name on the radio, gaining a wide public following before his Met debut in 1934. He continued to sing on the radio throughout his career and to record a wide range of popular songs. The Met's broadcast audience would hear him three times as this Figaro, twice as Amonasro, and once each as Germont and Valentin. 

Bruno Landi (1900-1968) had made his met debut just ten days before this broadcast. His most frequently performed role at the Met was Almaviva, but he also sang the Duke of Mantua, Nemorino and Rodolfo.

French-born Lily Pons (1898-1976) was one of the most famous singers at the Met in the 1930s and 1940s. She was the leading coloratura soprano, noted for her Lucia, Gilda and Rosina. 

The sound is rough in places, but better than other performances from this season.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 22, 1938 Matinee Broadcast


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
Rossini-Sterbini

Figaro..................John Charles Thomas
Rosina..................Lily Pons
Count Almaviva..........Bruno Landi
Dr. Bartolo.............Pompilio Malatesta
Don Basilio.............Ezio Pinza
Berta...................Irra Petina
Fiorello................Wilfred Engelman
Sergeant................Giordano Paltrinieri

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Joseph Urban

[In the Lesson Scene Pons sang Villanelle (Dell'Acqua) and Ach ich liebte from Die Entführung aus dem Serail.]

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2 comments:

  1. This blog is a wonderful little time capsule that allows us to look back in the seemingly impossibly distant past of great opera performances. Collecting mostly the symphonic repertoire but also enjoying opera I knew of many of these excerpts but having them together in one place with informative commentary on each one is a real treat. Thanks for this labor of love.

    -- Progress

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  2. My pleasure, I am glad you are enjoying them.

    ReplyDelete