[Met Performance] CID:147790
Manon {162} Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California: 04/20/1948.

(Review)


Los Angeles, California
April 20, 1948


MANON {162}

Manon...................Bidú Sayao
Des Grieux..............Giuseppe Di Stefano
Lescaut.................Martial Singher
Count des Grieux........Ezio Pinza
Guillot.................Alessio De Paolis
Brétigny................George Cehanovsky
Poussette...............Frances Greer
Javotte.................Maxine Stellman
Rosette.................Claramae Turner
Innkeeper...............Gerhard Pechner
Guard...................Anthony Marlowe
Guard...................John Baker
Maid....................May Savage
Dance...................Marina Svetlova
Dance...................Audrey Keane
Dance...................Fiala Mraz
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Nina Boneck
Dance...................Tilda Morse
Dance...................Laura Novak
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Leon Varkas

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

Review of Patterson Greene in the Los Angeles Examiner

Di Stefano Artistry Hailed

Besides the perennial fragrance of Massenet's music, last night's "Manon" at the Shrine Auditorium gained interest from the advent of a new, engaging and well endowed young tenor; and from the inclusion of the usually omitted "Cours la Reine" scene.

The Metropolitan Opera Association did honorably, if something less than brilliantly, by the beloved old work. The cast was competent throughout, and well routined. Costumes were colorful and fresh looking. The scenery served its purpose, and looked as if it had done so for a long, long time.

Giuseppe di Stefano in the tenor role of Des Grieux at once engaged the esteem of the capacity audience. Still in his twenties, he has an aristocratic musical style that has not yet (and I hope never will) substituted mechanical gloss for emotional warmth. Last night he sang simply and directly, and his love-making in the first act had a cogency that made Manon's swift surrender seem reasonable, and rather sensible. His acting was sincere, self contained, and, on this account, unfailingly impressive.

The aria about the dream was delivered with a subdued intensity that rarely invests it, and the high A had no falsetto trickery about it.

If the Metropolitan returns next spring, as a leaflet in last night's program promises (and as we all cordially hope), I believe a great many music lovers will be gratified if they are allowed to hear Di Stefano in more than one opera.

The title role was taken by Bidu Sayao, who has grown dramatically and diminished vocally since she was heard here in this opera several years ago. In appearance she is the ideal Manon, her acting is admirable, and the fragile beauty of her voice last night was occasionally effective, as in the "Adieu, Notre Petite Table." Too much of the time, however, the vocal means were not equal to her artistic will, and many tones were forced and sharp of pitch.

Martial Singher made the most of the difficult and thankless baritone role of Lescaut.

Ezio Pinza commanded the stage in his short scenes as the elder Des Grieux.



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