[Met Performance] CID:140960
Carmen {414} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/22/1946.

(Debuts: Ramon Vinay, Irene Hawthorne

Metropolitan Opera House
February 22, 1946

CARMEN {414}

Carmen..................Lily Djanel
Don José................Ramon Vinay [Debut]
Micaela.................Lillian Raymondi
Escamillo...............Hugh Thompson
Frasquita...............Frances Greer
Mercédès................Lucielle Browning
Remendado...............Anthony Marlowe
Dancaïre................George Cehanovsky
Zuniga..................Louis D'Angelo
Moralès.................John Baker
Dance...................Irene Hawthorne [Debut]
Dance...................Leon Varkas

Conductor...............Wilfred Pelletier

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the New York Herald Tribune:

Don José, the role in which Ramon Vinay had made his first New York appearance with the City Center Opera Company last fall, was also the vehicle for the Chilean tenor's debut at the Metropolitan Opera House last night in the season's sixth performance of "Carmen." His performance suggested that he well may become a valuable member of the Metropolitan's roster. His voice is of good size and likable quality; some tenseness in its production may be attributable to the psychological strain of a debut in this theater. His singing gave the impression of color and of effectiveness as an expressive vehicle, while his acting revealed unusual dramatic vigor and spontaneity.

From the review of Robert Bager in the New York World Telegram:

Making his Metropolitan Opera debut as Don José in Bizet's very durable and ever compelling "Carmen," Ramon Vinay, Mexican [sic!] tenor, reaffirmed impressions he had made with the City Center Opera Company several months ago. That is to say, that he has a powerful voice, a good stage presence and a good deal of innate temperment.

Actually, Mr. Vinay showed considerable improvement in his singing style over the previous effort. What he does want, however, is maturing in the sense that the idiom of Bizet's music and its delivery become his own spontaneous property. At the moment-possibly because of the natural jitters involved at a Met debut-he sounds tentative, for all the show of ardor and thrust. Mr. Vinay, be all this as it may, was enthusiastically welcomed by the usually large audience.

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun


Looking more than a little like a Latin version of John Boles (which is not a bad way for a lyric tenor to look), Ramon Vinay, Chilean tenor, made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera last night as Don Jose in "Carmen." That one places his appearance in premier point of mention is partially because it was exceptionally apt for this role (taller, for once, than it was broad) and also because Vinay's voice is somewhat less exceptional.

It is capable of considerable volume, and the texture is generally smooth. There was not much color in the voice in the first act, but he began the second with better control, and when he was well into the "Flower Song" the sound became distinctly firmer. Since this was particularly well received by the holiday audience, Vinay proceeded thereafter with considerably more assurance. He was a decided success with his listeners.

Considering Vinay's youth, his fine appearance and credible behavior on the stage, there should be something to hope of him were he able to master some of his vocal faults and exploit the possibilities he possesses. His good musical manners and tonal breeding are in his favor. He even resisted the temptation to bow after his important solo, remaining resolutely in character.

The cast was otherwise familiar, though not all the singers have been heard in these parts previously this season, Hugh Thompson sang a lively, athletic Toreador, a little light in voice but thoroughly intelligent, and Lillian Raymondi worked hard to be a convincing Micaela, though she is small in physique for this part. Lily Djanel was the excellent Carmen, in particularly good voice. Wilfred Pelletier maintained a reasonable musical morale from the conductor's desk.

From the review of Robert Lawrence in the New York Times:

Mr. Vinay combined a physical grace and a Latin Insolence and force to give an individuality not often seen in opera to the personality of the unfortunate soldier. In general, both Mr. Vinay's conception of the role and interpretation of the music were in the French tradition, and his powerful and finely controlled voice was an admirable instrument.

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