[Met Performance] CID:140210
La Traviata {276} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/15/1945.

(Debut: Robert Merrill
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 15, 1945


LA TRAVIATA {276}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Licia Albanese
Alfredo.................Richard Tucker
Germont.................Robert Merrill [Debut]
Flora...................Thelma Votipka
Gastone.................Alessio De Paolis
Baron Douphol...........George Cehanovsky
Marquis D'Obigny........John Baker
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis D'Angelo
Annina..................Thelma Altman
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Marina Svetlova

Conductor...............Cesare Sodero

Director................Désiré Defrère
Designer................Jonel Jorgulesco
Choreographer...........Boris Romanoff

La Traviata received nine performances this season.

Review of Noel Straus in The New York Times:

Two young artists from Brooklyn were entrusted with the leading male roles in last night's engrossing performance of "La Traviata" at the Metropolitan. Richard Tucker, replacing Jan Peerce, sang his first Alfredo with the company, and Robert Merrill made his debut as the elder Germont. Licia Albanese, the Violetta, made her first appearance of the season at this presentation.

Called in at the last moment to assume the chief tenor part in the opera, Mr. Tucker, who previously had been heard at the house as Enzo in Ponchielli's "La Gioconda," a part demanding a dramatic type of voice, moved with equal distinction in the lyric role of Alfredo. His tones were invariably fresh, firm and vibrant, sympathetic and rich in quality, and true to pitch. There was real fervor and poetry in his singing, and in every respect his manly impersonation, with its fine sense of restraint and its unfailing taste, was of a highly praiseworthy order.

Mr. Merrill disclosed a baritone voice of considerable volume, with round tones that increased in amplitude as they mounted the scale, from the thin lower register to the easily emitted and ringing top. The vowels in this singing were not always faultless and the production was somewhat throaty, but a vocalist who can deliver "Pura siccome un angelo" with the skill accorded its phrases by this young newcomer must be rated a worthwhile acquisition in the company's ranks. If he was somewhat less authoritative in his bout with the "Di Provenza" aria, which wanted in warmth of feeling, it should be taken into account that this number is the despair of practically all artists who attempt it. Mr. Merrill has a handsome stage presence and acted with ease and dignity.

Miss Albanese could be pardoned a rather poor start in the "Libiamo" where the voice had not warmed up. Thereafter she accomplished much that was most effective and stirring in song, in a portrayal that accumulated in dramatic power and impressiveness as the opera proceeded. Hers was a Violetta captivating in its refinement, sincerity and freedom from the slightest hint of overstatement, as well as deftly sung. The orchestra gave expert support, under Mr. Sodero's comprehending leadership, and the performance as a whole had atmosphere and mood, holding the interest at all times from the rise of the first curtain on.


Photograph of Robert Merrill as Germont by James Abresch.



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