[Met Performance] CID:164320
Don Giovanni {169} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/19/1953.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 19, 1953


Don Giovanni............George London
Donna Anna..............Margaret Harshaw
Don Ottavio.............Cesare Valletti
Donna Elvira............Lisa Della Casa
Leporello...............Erich Kunz
Zerlina.................Roberta Peters
Masetto.................Lorenzo Alvary
Commendatore............Luben Vichey

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

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

'Don Giovanni' at the Met, Lisa della Casa Is Elvira

Mozart's "Don Giovanni," with Lisa della Casa singing her first local Donna Elvira, was heard Saturday night at the Metropolitan Opera House. Others in the cast included George London, who appeared in the title role for the first time this year; Margaret Harshaw as Donna Anna, Roberta Peters as Zerlina, Lubomir Vichegonov as II Commendatore, Cesare Valletti as Don Ottavio, Erich Kunz as Leporello and Lorenzo Alvary as Masetto. Max Rudolf was the able conductor.

Miss della Casa's impersonation of the beleaguered Donna Elvira is musical, efficient and appropriately dignified. Unfortunately, however, it is rarely more than that. Her voice, Saturday night at any rate, was somewhat bland and colorless, and though the soprano's pitches and phrases were invariably right and well considered, her characterization in general seemed pedestrian and sorely lacking in dramatic intensity. Only in ensemble work - the trios and the quartets - did her performance take fire and emerge with the kind of imperious desperation that is Donna Elvira's major contribution to the complexities of the plot. Elsewhere, and despite singing of an extremely clear and orderly nature, she sketched more of a black and white outline than a fully drawn portrait.

Mr. London's Don continues to grow in stature, though it is not, as yet, an ultimate in theatrical polish and perfection. Some day it will be, that much is certain. For Mr. London has both the voice and powers of projection to make the Don exclusively his own. At present he is still a mite kittenish in his rakish pursuits, and his arias - notably "Fin ch'han dal vino" and "Deh, vieni alla finestra" - suffered from a lack of abandon and the brand of vocal sophistication that makes these short numbers quite irresistible in their operatic appeal. No matter. He is still the best Don on the scene. The character's values have only to be crystallized, and his moods better understood, before Mr. London makes a truly regal and imposing Don Juan.

Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names

Back to short citation(s).