[Met Performance] CID:159010
Carmen {469} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/19/1952.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 19, 1952


CARMEN {469}

Carmen..................Risë Stevens
Don José................Mario Del Monaco
Micaela.................Nadine Conner
Escamillo...............Paolo Silveri
Frasquita...............Lucine Amara
Mercédès................Margaret Roggero
Remendado...............Alessio De Paolis
Dancaïre................George Cehanovsky
Zuniga..................Norman Scott
Moralès.................Clifford Harvuot
Dance...................Janet Collins
Dance...................Loren Hightower

Conductor...............Kurt Adler

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America

In this performance of the Metropolitan's new production of "Carmen," the season's fourth, Kurt Adler conducted instead of Fritz Reiner, who had led the season's first performance of Strauss' "Elektra" the previous evening. Mario del Monaco appeared as Don José for the first time at the Metropolitan; and Norman Scott took the role of Zuniga for the first time there. The cast, otherwise familiar, included Rïse Stevens as Carmen; Nadine Conner, as Micaela; Paolo Silveri, as Escamillo; and in other roles, Clifford Harvuot, Lucine Amara, Margaret Roggero, George Cehanovsky, and Alessio de Paolis.

Mr. Adler conducted the opera for the first time at the Metropolitan, and he was faced with a cast and orchestra trained to Mr. Reiner's wishes. Under the circumstances, the questionable tempos (too slow in Act I and much too fast in Act II) and the occasional lack of co-ordination between stage and pit were understandable. Mr. Adler also had to deal with two singers new to the cast - Mario del Monaco and Norman Scott. He obtained generally efficient results.

Mr. Del Monaco's performance as Don José was vocally and dramatically undistinguished. During the first three acts his acting was wooden, and in the fourth he indulged in exaggerations that made things difficult for Miss Stevens. It a few places the natural vitality of his voice made itself felt, and there was one well-spun piano phrase at the end of his duet with Micaela in Act I that showed that he was capable of better vocalism than he vouchsafed most of the time. His French diction, like that of almost all the other members of the cast, was poor. The lack of precision in his enunciation may have been the cause of a wooly quality of tone in soft passages.

Mr. Scott's Zuniga was a competent, if routine, impersonation, and he sang with considerable vitality. Miss Stevens and the other artists gave workmanlike performances, which was all that one could expect from them under these circumstances.



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