[Met Performance] CID:155120
Don Giovanni {150} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/20/1950.

(Debut: Paolo Silveri

Metropolitan Opera House
November 20, 1950


Don Giovanni............Paolo Silveri [Debut]
Donna Anna..............Ljuba Welitsch
Don Ottavio.............Eugene Conley
Donna Elvira............Eleanor Steber
Leporello...............Salvatore Baccaloni
Zerlina.................Nadine Conner
Masetto.................Hugh Thompson
Commendatore............Jerome Hines

Conductor...............Fritz Reiner

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times

Paolo Silveri, Italian baritone, made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House last night in the title role of Mozart's "Don Giovanni." There are few roles more exacting for the singing-actor, and Mr. Silveri quickly established himself as an artist of many gifts.

His voice has warmth and quality. It is employed with intelligence and musicianship. While Mr. Silveri has been singing for a number of years in the leading theatres of Italy and other European countries, the freshness and sheen have not been rubbed off his voice, This may be so because he is relatively young as leading baritones go; more important, it is so because he does not drive or force the voice beyond its natural bounds.

A singer in the Italian tradition of bel canto, Mr. Silveri knows how to shape a lyrical phrase, and this understanding is vital to any realization of a Mozart role. His singing in such places as the duet with Zerlina and in the serenade had nuance and suavity. It was the work of a musician.

It is not necessary to pretend that Mr. Silveri's Don Giovanni is a finished product in other respects. His characterization does not dominate the stage; it lacks the vitality and magnetism that would give the role its full stature and that would impart greater dramatic urgency to this incomparable opera.

Whether these things, in song and in action, will come with time remains to be seen. It may be that Mr. Silveri, once rid of the worries of a debut, will show more force and authority. Whether he does or not, it is to be hoped that the smoothness of his singing style will not be sacrificed.

The new baritone was slated to make his debut in the opera's [first] week. He was down for the role of Germont in "Traviata," but was ill at that time. He has agreed to do this part tonight, as originally scheduled, even though his debut took place last night because Paul. Schoeffler was indisposed.

The only other change in the cast from the season's first "Don Giovanni" had Nadine Conner singing and acting Zerlina with a perception and relish that were truly Mozartian. Ljuba Welitch, Eleanor Steber, Jerome Hines, Eugene Conley, Salvatore Baccaloni and Hugh Thompson rounded out a strong cast, and Fritz Reiner conducted with his customary precision and address.

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