[Met Performance] CID:134030
Carmen {383} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/26/1942.

(Debuts: Lorenzo Alvary, Nina Youskevitch, James Lyons
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 26, 1942


CARMEN {383}
Bizet-Meilhac/L. Halévy

Carmen..................Lily Djanel
Don José................René Maison
Micaela.................Licia Albanese
Escamillo...............Alexander Sved
Frasquita...............Thelma Votipka
Mercédès................Helen Olheim
Remendado...............Alessio De Paolis
Dancaïre................George Cehanovsky
Zuniga..................Lorenzo Alvary [Debut]
Moralès.................Wilfred Engelman
Dance...................Rita Holzer
Dance...................Nina Youskevitch [Debut]
Dance...................Ruthanna Boris
Dance...................Monna Montes
Dance...................James Lyons [Debut]
Dance...................Alexis Dolinoff
Dance...................Michael Arshansky

Conductor...............Thomas Beecham

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Mary Percy Schenck
Choreographer...........Laurent Novikoff

Carmen received eight performances this season.

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun

SVED AND ALVARY SING IN "CARMEN"

Thanksgiving and "Carmen" seem an occasion for retrospect at the Metropolitan, for the bright colors of Bizet have adorned more than one holiday evening. But one was prompted to pass quickly over the retrospect, in comparing last night's cast for "Carmen" with some of the gala ones of the past - those with Farrar, Caruso, Amato, Bori, perhaps - and congratulate the management that the large audience seemed to think it as good as it did.

For those, unfortunately with memories, there was solid virtue to be found at least in the conducting of Sir Thomas Beecham. Even if Sir Thomas does not have the opportunity to give as polished a performance as he would with adequate rehearsals - Lily Djanel, the Carmen, fell more than a mite behind in one section of the "Habanera" - he does instill his energy and taste into the playing of the orchestral interludes. What he could do for the whole opera was shown in the quintet, of the second act, which went with exceptional dash.. The implication was that this had been rehearsed.

The unfamiliar performers in last night's cast were two: Lorenzo Alvary, making his debut as Zuniga, and Alexander Sved, singing Escmillo for the first time. Mr. Alvary was about as good as a Zuniga needs to be, meaning that he sang clearly in an uneventful baritone, and disposed of the dramatic necessities of the part with sound routine. Whether he has more important abilities at his disposal will be shown when he encounters a role of less rigid limitations. Mr. Sved differs from his recent predecessors as Escamillo in appearing, at least, to relish the part. The impossible tessitura of the "Toreador" air gave Mr. Sved an appreciable amount of trouble, but he had the top for the F, if not the bottom for the C. He also has the vigor of voice to make this music exciting, though the ferocity with which he roared it out made one wonder, at times, whether he was impersonating the toreador or the bull.

For the most part, Mme. Djanel sang Carmen's music with respectable fluency and musicianly concern for Bizet's desires. She is also a good enough actress to make one wonder why her whole performance doesn't make a stronger impression - perhaps it is because all the details are neat, but essentially small-scaled. When she sang a full voiced B at the close of the second act it was distractingly shrill. Licia Albanese was a superior Micaela, somewhat mature in appearance - but hardly too much so for the bullbound Don José of Rene Maison.
        
                            







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