[Met Performance] CID:167110
Aida {579} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/20/1954.

(Debuts: Mia Slavenska, Larry Boyette, Louis Kosman
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 20, 1954


AIDA {579}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Herva Nelli
Radamès.................Mario Del Monaco
Amneris.................Nell Rankin
Amonasro................Frank Guarrera
Ramfis..................Nicola Moscona
King....................Luben Vichey
Messenger...............James McCracken
Priestess...............Rosalind Elias
Dance...................Mia Slavenska [Debut]
Dance...................Larry Boyette [Debut]
Dance...................Louis Kosman [Debut]

Conductor...............Fausto Cleva

Production..............Margaret Webster
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov
Stage Director..........Dino Yannopoulos

Aida received eight performances this season.

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

'Aida'

Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida," presented in full Saturday night at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time this season, brought with it a major cast change in the person of Herva Nelli who replaced the suddenly indisposed Zinka .Milanov as Aida. And this fact accounted for the uneven quality of the evening's rendition, since important substitutions have a way of rattling the nerves of all concerned and carrying the performance into a state of hesitancy and confusion. At any rate, on this occasion "Aida" was far from being at its best. The chorus sang shabbily, the orchestra sounded lifeless. Even the soloists did not bring to their parts the theatrical vigor and vocal grandeur that is their custom.

Among the featured singers were Mario Del Monaco as Radames, Nell Rankin as Amneris, Frank Guarerra as Amonosro, Luben Vichey as the King, Nicola Moscona as Ramfis and Rosalind Elias as a Priestess. Fausto Cleva was the conductor.

For reasons difficult to place, Miss Nelli's interpretation lacked, in almost every degree, those qualities of compassion upon which the role's successes are based. Her singing - save for some spread tones in the upper regions - was in the main adequate, and she encountered no problems in maintaining a long and flowing line. Still, to her reading there was no passion, no power. She walked through the part, as it were - treated it casually, without dramatic emphasis. In consequence, Miss Nelli failed to generate the sympathy and warmth that are by nature an adjunct to any Aida portrayal.

Mr. Del Monaco's Radames was, in its vocal circumstance, properly heroic, though he insists on treating the character as if he were a furtive Russian spy with a bomb planted beneath his tunic. He did, however, bring considerable glamour to his big numbers, and his ringing tenor served as a glowing focal point in each and every ensemble.

Miss Rankin fared not so well. Her tones were generally coarse, and significant phrases went frequently out of tune. In addition, the remaining cast members, especially in the bass ranks, wobbled excessively and had trouble meeting the demands of Verdi's pitches. All told it was a lukewarm evening. Neither poetry nor elegance were on hand to redeem it.



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