[Met Performance] CID:161630
Don Giovanni {162} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/15/1953.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 15, 1953


Don Giovanni............George London
Donna Anna..............Margaret Harshaw
Don Ottavio.............Jan Peerce
Donna Elvira............Brenda Lewis
Leporello...............Erich Kunz
Zerlina.................Genevieve Warner
Masetto.................Lorenzo Alvary
Commendatore............Norman Scott

Conductor...............Max Rudolf

Review of Raymond Ericson in Musical America

The first Don of the new year-and the fifth of the season-was a touch and go affair with most of the principals new to their roles in this theatre, many of them unaccustomed to each other in this opera and the two principal female singers suffering from the respiratory infection that has been prevalent in the city. That such a combination of conditions led, not to a shambles, but to a really superior performance is one of those mysteries of the Metropolitan that make its productions an endless adventure.

The matter of first moment was, of course, George London's initial impersonation here of the Don. The most striking impression was visual for Mr. London certainly possesses one of the handsomest masculine figures on the operatic stage today. An audible gasp went up from the audience when he made his second entrance clad in the resplendent all-white costume with tights. But there was much more. Mr. London also is a knowing actor and a fine singer. He made the Don a credible, intelligent, aristocratic figure and sang his music with uncommon technical finesse. Mr. London's voice is not a notably big one, but he manipulates and colors it and makes it do his bidding with such virtuosity that sheer volume becomes immaterial.

Not to be outdone in the vocal department, Jan Peerce, as Don Ottavio,
contributed some of the best singing of the season both in his solos and in ensemble numbers. Margaret Harshaw, the Donna Anna, and Brenda Lewis, the Donna Elvira, both laboring against colds, managed brilliantly to sing over them and begged no quarter from their opposite numbers in the male contingent. They both proved valuable acquisitions for the new cast as did Genevieve Warner who was a charming Zerlina. Erich Kunz's Leporello proved the perfect foil for Mr. London's Don, and his performance was one of the best of the evening. Lorenzo Alvary, always reliable in important character parts like Masetto, was no less so on this occasion. Norman Scott was one of the few Commendatores I ever have seen who actually could hold the rigidity of the statue.

Max Rudolf, one of the assistant managers of the house, took the baton for the first time this season and joined his colleagues in perfecting a memorable performance.

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