[Met Performance] CID:155190
Manon Lescaut {80} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/27/1950.

(Debut: Mario Del Monaco
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 27, 1950


MANON LESCAUT {80}

Manon...................Dorothy Kirsten
Des Grieux..............Mario Del Monaco [Debut]
Lescaut.................Giuseppe Valdengo
Geronte.................Gerhard Pechner
Edmondo.................Thomas Hayward
Innkeeper...............George Cehanovsky
Solo Madrigalist........Margaret Roggero
Dancing Master..........Alessio De Paolis
Sergeant................Clifford Harvuot
Lamplighter.............Paul Franke
Captain.................Osie Hawkins

Conductor...............Fausto Cleva

Review of Cecil Smith in Musical America
Mario del Monaco, a young Italian tenor who came to this country for the fall season of the San Francisco Opera, made his debut at the Metropolitan in a guest appearance as Des Grieux in Puccini's Manon Lescaut. The many strong qualities in his performance and the warm enthusiasm of the audience left little doubt that he will be a strong addition to the roster if the management, after this trial balloon, decides to engage him next season.

Gifted with an admirable voice, good looks, and a slender figure, Mr. Del Monaco revealed no faults that a little grooming could not eliminate. The high notes were the most striking feature of his voice. After he had abandoned the rather pinched production that marred his singing in the first act, he showed that he could send across the pit the resonant, free tones that make the work of an Italian tenor exciting and guaranteed him a permanently enslaved audience. His middle voice was somewhat less distinctive, although in the tragic music of the last act it took on a warmth and roundness it had not possessed earlier. Stylistically his singing was a bit crude, but not really distressingly so; and his shortcomings of legato and phrasing were counterbalanced by dynamic and powerful accentuation that often suggested the delivery of Giovanni Martinelli. As an actor for the American audience, he was hampered by an addiction to exaggerated demonstrations that persist in Italian opera houses, and he was rather too ready to turn on a set musical-comedy smile. But he is obviously alert and responsive, and it would be no great task to coach him in the sort of stage deportment preferred on this side of the Atlantic.



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