Jeanette MacDonald Triumphs in Bowl
Hollywood Citizen News
by Margaret Harford
(contributed by Ginny)
No one would be surprised
today to learn that the Hollywood Bowl's rentals of opera glasses hit an all time high last night. Thousands of pairs
of these visual aids were focused on the shell to catch a close-up of beautiful Jeanette MacDonald as she came on stage for
her debut at the Bowl with Leopold Stokowski and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony.
A singer who can give as much sheer enjoyment
with music as Miss MacDonald does occupy a unique place as an artist.
"The King of Thule" from "Faust" seemed less
suited to her light lyrical soprano than did her other numbers, The Jewels Song, also from "Faust," the "Romeo and Juliet
Waltz," Delibees' "the Maid of Cadiz" and a lilting bandinage from Victor Herbert's "Sweethearts." Her voice has taken
on a resonant fullness in its lower register. Fatigue seemed to be responsible for the occasional tightness of tone.
Last night's concert was the final one for Miss MacDonald in her current tour, which has taken her across the nation.
Huge crowds made demands on their favorite, just as the throng in the Bowl "stayed put" after the formal program to hear her
sing the lovely numbers from her pictures "Indian Love Call," "Donkey Serenade," "Italian Street Song," and others.
of the most impressive qualities of Jeanette MacDonald as an artist, besides her musicianship and good taste, is the spontaneity
with which she sings. She is a happy, smiling performer who generously shares her musical gifts with those who love
to hear her.
Leopold Stokowski and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony gave the soprano excellent orchestral support.
Their performance of "Romeo and Juliet" Overture was inspiring and Stokowski gave Ravel's Bolero distinct character, boldly
bringing forther the solo passages. Too often this popular work sinks into a blurred monotony. Suppe's "Light
Cavalry" Overture was a good warming-up exercise for the orchestra, somewhat heavy on the brass.
Singing Star Back From British Tour
(contributed by Ginny)
Singing star Jeanette MacDonald as back in her Bel-Air
home with her husband Gene Raymond, yesterday followinga recent six-week concert tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland.
while Raymond played someof his own tunes onthe piano, Miss MacDoanld glanced over one of her concert programsand reminisced
about her trip.
"I gave eight separate recitals and the English people were wonderful," said the star. "So were
the Scotch andthe Irish. They loved it when I sang "The Song of the Kerry Dancers'."
Food is still scare there,
she said adding that she had only one egg during her stay.
Next to her singing, the Englishwomen liked her hats, Miss
MacDonald said. "The asked me to pose again and again just for pictures of my hat. Of course, Hedda Hopper, who
was also in London at the same time, gave me some competition."
MacDonald Delights Throng of Admirers
L.A. Times 3-31-48
(Contributed by Ginny)
One of the more curious phenomena of late years has been the entry
of movies stars into the concert world. It has left regular concert-going audiences practically unmoved, but it has
brought into the recital halls vast numbers of people, who one may believe, scarcely knew a recital existed before.
And it has had a curious effect upon the stars themselves: those who had concert reputations before they went into the movies
have almost without exception found it necessary to lower their standards to meet the new audiences, but those who began in
the movies have almost always aspired to a higher musical level.
MacDonald belongs in the latter category. Radiant and glowing, she stepped onto the stage of the Philharmonic Auditorium
last night to be greeted rapturously by an audience that filled the place to the rafters and that seemed to be equally compounded
of movie celebrities and autograph hunters. But to this adoring through, which would have loved almost anything she
cared to give it, she sang a program of the type which has become most serious sort of singer. If there were any excerpts
from her popular movies they must have been including the final encores after this reporter left the hall.
For so much
one must give Miss MacDonald credit. Her vocal resources judged by concert standards are limited, but she has studiously and
sincerely developed them not only to a point of respectability but to a general degree of adequacy and versatility.
The most difficult items of her program often came off the best. You can hear a good many performances of "Madame Butterfly"
in which "Un bel di vedremo" is not sung with so much expressiveness with so sure a sense of climax. Nor does every
singer capture the abandon of such a song as Vidal's "Ariette" as well as does Miss MacDonald. And while personal charm
exists in all that the singer attempts there were frequent glints of poetic feeling in the brace of Grieg songs, though why
the music of a Norwegian composer should be sung to an English-speaking audience in German is one of those dark secrets which
singers keep among themselves.
Miss MacDonald's vocal faults are mostly
those of placement. When the tone is lightly poised and brought forward sufficiently it emerges wit pure and please
quality. When this case of production deserts her, the tone tends to become strained and pinched. The unease ofa
beginning made it undesirable to sing two arias from "La Sonnambula" so early in the program; they were the least satisfactory
of the evening's offerings. But there was steady improvement as the voice warmed to its task and it was the best toward
the end in Samuel Barber's "The Daisies" and Elinor Remick Warren's charming "Down in the Glen."
For all its varying
qualities Miss MacDonald's audience loved her singing and herself without restraint, and when she unbent to play her own accompaniment
for Grieg's "Springtime." or rocked an imaginary baby in her arms wile she sang Gershwin's "Summertime," or played with a
fan during Massenet's "L'Eventail" or repeated the mimery of Ravel's "Nicolette" after a recalcitrant spotlight had killed
the climax, her public's joy knew no bounds.
Collins Smith was the self-effacing accompanist, and gave the singer the
usual rest period by playing solos in rather better than the usual accompanists manner