[Met Performance] CID:167400
Le Nozze di Figaro {141} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/20/1954.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 20, 1954


LE NOZZE DI FIGARO {141}

Figaro..................Cesare Siepi
Susanna.................Dolores Wilson
Count Almaviva..........Frank Guarrera
Countess Almaviva.......Lisa Della Casa
Cherubino...............Mildred Miller
Dr. Bartolo.............Fernando Corena
Marcellina..............Jean Madeira
Don Basilio.............Alessio De Paolis
Antonio.................Lorenzo Alvary
Barbarina...............Vilma Georgiou
Don Curzio..............Gabor Carelli
Peasant.................Maria Leone
Peasant.................Sandra Warfield

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

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

"Figaro" at the Met

Dolores Wilson, given less than three hours' notice, stepped into the role of Susanna Monday at the Metropolitan Opera to sing in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" for the first time in her life. Replacing the indisposed Nadine Conner, Miss Wilson was surrounded by a familiar cast of notables, including Frank Guarrera as the Count, Lisa Della Casa as the Countess, Cesare Siepi as Figaro, Mildred Miller as Cherubino, Jean Madeira as Marcellina, Alessio De Paolis as Basilio, Lorenzo Alvary as Antonio and Fernando Corena as Bartolo, the latter also interpreting his role for the first time at the house. Fritz Stiedry was again the conductor.

Were Miss Wilson under extreme tension and stress - and she had every reason to be - no signs of it blemished a chipper and alert portrayal that fit snugly into the mise-en-scene created by singers and stage director alike. Susanna suits her voice, is placed, in fact, in precisely those registers where she is pleased to work with the greatest freedom. As a result, she was able on this occasion to emit a barrage of clearly-moulded lines, neat in pitch and of a hearty color. As is to be expected under the circumstances, however, Miss Wilson's impersonation has not yet completely jelled, and there are aspects of it that lean too resolutely on the surface facets of the heroine's character. Her Susanna is all brightness and mincing gaiety, which fact neglects the element of alarm she must show at being amorously coveted by her lord and master. At any rate, the skeleton of a future Susanna is apparent, and that is important. It is up to her now to adorn these bones with dramatic flesh and blood. Mr. Corena, even in his small role, was able to give considerable substance to Bartolo and his blustering. Indeed, it is this artist's particular skill to take stock, cardboard figures and, through a gentle emphasis of their foibles, lend them an air of warmth and humanity. Last night Mr. Corena did just that, and Bartolo emerged as a person nowhere vicious and vile.

The production as a whole ran smoothly down its course, though a single great objection must be made to a bit of "business" which crept into the second act. Mr. Alvary, as Antonio the gardener, at one point finding himself near the Countess' dressing-table, took it as a moment to examine her cosmetics and even use her comb for his hair. It should be obvious that such an effrontery on the part of a servant toward his onlooking mistress - especially during those..... jail.



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