[Met Performance] CID:158850
Lucia di Lammermoor {258} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/4/1952.

(Debut: Graciela Rivera
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 4, 1952


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {258}

Lucia...................Graciela Rivera [Debut]
Edgardo.................Jan Peerce
Enrico..................Renato Capecchi
Raimondo................Nicola Moscona
Normanno................Paul Franke
Alisa...................Thelma Votipka
Arturo..................Gabor Carelli
Dance...................Janet Picarde
Dance...................Karl Klauser

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


Review of James Hinton Jr. in Musical America

Graciela Rivera, the young Puerto Rican soprano whose engagement by the Metropolitan was announced late in December, made her debut in the title role of "Lucia di Lammermoor" when the Donizetti opera was given its sixth performance of the season. Jan Peerce sang his first Edgardo of the season, with Renato Capecchi as Ashton, Nicola Moscona as Raimondo, Thelma Votipka as Alisa, Paul Franke as Normanno, and Gabor Carelli as Bucklaw. Fausto Cleva again conducted and shaped his resources into a performance that had considerably more to recommend it than the first of the season did.

Miss Rivera had sung Lucia in other cities but never before in New York, and she met the challenge of her Metropolitan debut with aplomb and unimpeachable security. Slight and attractive, she carried herself well, moved with grace and discretion, and never deviated from the character she had conceived for herself. Her acting during the duet with Ashton and the marriage-contract scene was exceptionally fluid and responsive to the text and her mad scene projected touchingly. She was appealing in the first act too, although she could with profit have varied her projection of a constant, nervous concern. But it is no common thing to have a Lucia whose dramatic conception is firm enough to arouse the desire to comment.

Added to these assets were even more valuable ones of musicianship and vocal skill. Miss Rivera's singing was always clear and accurate, with sure easy tones all the way up to E flat in the mad scene. Uncompromisingly a real coloratura and one with a fine, strictly applied technique, she made her effect through purity of tone and attention to line rather than through absolute volume. Her upper tones carried effortlessly out into the house. In the less altitudinous passages she refused to force her voice for the sake of volume, insisting on the primary importance of phrasing
musically. This approach had the defects of its undeniable virtues and, although she never really became inaudible, the line she was so carefully shaping really had to be listened for. It is hard to believe that the possessor of so sure a technique would seriously prejudice her upper voice by finding a broader, more maturely expressive delivery in the middle range for such a role as Lucia. The audience responded with heartening enthusiasm to Miss Rivera and called her before the curtain seven times after the mad scene.

Mr. Peerce sang and acted with the satisfying artistic qualities so characteristic of him and both he and Miss Votipka showed attractively human good-will in shepherding and deferring to Miss Rivera in the first act. Mr. Moscona was in impressive form and Mr. Capecchi sang far better than he had in this role before, at the same time acting it with rare perception and taste. Mr. Franke had improved markedly in his part; Mr. Carelli somewhat less.



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