[Met Performance] CID:159240
Il Trovatore {266} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/11/1952.


Metropolitan Opera House
March 11, 1952

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Mario Del Monaco
Leonora.................Delia Rigal
Count Di Luna...........Robert Merrill
Azucena.................Fedora Barbieri
Ferrando................Nicola Moscona
Ines....................Anne Bollinger
Ruiz....................Gabor Carelli
Messenger...............Alessio De Paolis
Gypsy...................Algerd Brazis

Conductor...............Alberto Erede

Review of Cecil Smith in Musical America

A stentorian body of enthusiasts in the standing room greeted the return of Robert Merrill to the Metropolitan and the first appearance there of Mario del Monaco in the role of Manrico. Mr. Merrill, who was dismissed from the company by Rudolf Bing last spring when he broke his contract by refusing to return from Hollywood for performances on the Metropolitan tour, was reinstated in January by the general manager on the strength of a letter of apology. In his very first appearance under this new dispensation, he broke on of the house rules by bowing to the applause that followed his performance of "Il balen." Although his conduct would be forgiven in the light of the special circumstances, it nevertheless distracted from the dignity of a performance in which even the ebullient Mr. Del Monaco remained constantly in character.

Mr. Merrill's voice, which had begun to darken noticeably last season, now seemed much heavier and more somber than it used to, and it no longer remained consistently in perfect focus. It still seemed one of the most beautiful large baritone voices to be heard anywhere, but its mobility and expressive range were decidedly limited.

Mr. Del Monaco was the most romantically handsome Manrico the Metropolitan audience has seen in many years, wearing a succession of sleek and well-tailored costumes and standing in a variety of poses that emphasized the superior contours of his legs. But he refrained from the self-advertisement and stepping out of character that had marred his performance as Otello, and he sang with free, open, powerful tones. At times - notably in the duet "Ai nostri monti," with Fedora Barbieri - he obscured the point of the music by his failure to use mezza voice; and the cavatina "Ah sė. ben mio" received a real battering, with scarcely a trace of legato or sensibility to the requirements of bel canto phrasing. But "Di quella pira," sung in B major, was an admirable achievement, and warranted the many curtain calls it brought him.

Delia Rigal, returning to the role of Leonora for the first time this season, gave one of the steadiest performances of her Metropolitan career. Temperamentally she is admirably suited to the tragic Verdi roles, and when her temperament is supported by stable tone production and eloquent phrasing, as it was on this occasion, she is a distinguished artist indeed. The last act was deeply moving, for in addition to the broad emotionalized line she frequently commands she also revealed a new ability to poise her voice lightly and to achieve sotto voce effects of great beauty.

Miss Barbieri's Azucena was as superb as ever, and brought down the house. Nicola Moscona was in fine voice as Ferrando. The lesser parts were sung by Anne Bollinger (an unusually successful Inez), Gabor Carelli, Alessio de Paolis, and Algerd Brazis. Alberto Erede conducted rigidly.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).