[Met Performance] CID:159260
Otello {110} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/13/1952.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 13, 1952


OTELLO {110}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Ramon Vinay
Desdemona...............Delia Rigal
Iago....................Paolo Silveri
Emilia..................Martha Lipton
Cassio..................Thomas Hayward
Lodovico................Nicola Moscona
Montàno.................Osie Hawkins
Roderigo................Paul Franke
Herald..................Algerd Brazis

Conductor...............Fritz Stiedry


Review of Raymond Ericson in Musical America

Two major cast changes lent special interest to the fifth and final presentation this season of Verdi's great opera. Delia Rigal sang the role of Desdemona and Paolo Silveri that of Iago, both for the first time at the Metropolitan. Mr. Silveri's interpretation was one of the best he has offered at the opera house. His Iago was a consistently plausible person. The details of his sinister machinations were projected with quiet thoughtfulness rather than demonstrative malevolence, but they were always clear in intent. He sang with comparable musical intelligence. There was more concern for nuance and expressivity than he has often shown, and his voice took on more suavity, losing focus only in the big moments in the second act.

It took two and a half acts for Miss Rigal to come into her own, but after that her singing was worth waiting for. At the outset she was afflicted with some of her worrisome vocal difficulties. She seemed a most uncharacteristic Desdemona - cold and regally condescending to Otello - and her graceful stage movement had moments of self-consciousness. Beginning with "A terra! ś nel livido fango," in the third act, her voice operated smoothly. The unique Rigal tone, limpid but of great density, the nobility of her phrasing, and the inner conviction of her acting in Desdemona's pitiful plight made the music more poignant than ever. Her last act, in conjunction with Martha Lipton's warmly sympathetic Emilia and Ramon Vinay's powerful Otello, was an extraordinarily moving experience.

Others in the cast were Thomas Hayward as Cassio, Paul Franke as Roderigo, Nicola Moscona as Lodovico, Osie Hawkins as Montano, and Algerd Brazis as the Herald. Fritz Stiedry conducted a musicianly performance, but he was disturbingly and unnecessarily bad-mannered about differences in tempo between himself and Miss Rigal and Mr. Silveri, who had probably had insufficient rehearsal with him.



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