[Met Performance] CID:167630
Don Giovanni {180} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/12/1955.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 12, 1955

Mozart-Da Ponte

Don Giovanni............George London
Donna Anna..............Margaret Harshaw
Don Ottavio.............Cesare Valletti
Donna Elvira............Lucine Amara
Leporello...............Fernando Corena
Zerlina.................Dolores Wilson
Masetto.................Lorenzo Alvary
Commendatore............Luben Vichey

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

Director................Dino Yannopoulos
Set designer............Charles Elson

Don Giovanni received five performances this season.

Review of Douglas Watt in the Daily News

Met 'Giovanni' a Better Show Than Last Year

Things are looking up for the Met's streamlined production of "Don Giovanni," presented last night for the first time this season. The musical performance may not have been all that could be desired, but they're getting the show in shape, nevertheless.

You may recall that last season, in a low-budget remounting of the Mozart masterpiece, the eye was perpetually fixed on a pink, spiraling ramp down which Ziegfeld beauties could be imagined clomping to the tune of "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody."

More Subdued Scenery

Well, the ramp is still there, of course, the main feature of Charles Elson's unit set. But it's no longer pink, it's gray now; and the lighting plan has been given a great deal of thought, so that now small areas are picked out by lights in a constantly changing order. This, of course, was the basic idea of the set, which was never meant to be glaringly revealed in its entirety.

Also, the ball scene that brings the first half to a close has been dressed up with a chandelier and gauzy drapes. And, finally, the statue of the Commendatore has been given back its horse, so that the old boy is once more astride his mount in the cemetery scene.

It all helps, though the set continues to present awkward problems in the staging of the opera. But the funny thing is that now there appears to be the promise of a workable and satisfying "Don Giovanni" within a framework that seemed impossible a year ago.

The Musical Performance

Last night's cast, conducted somewhat deliberately by Max Rudolf, was a good one, on the whole. George London gave his usual polished and athletic performance in the title role and he used his rich voice expressively.
Portraying her first Zerlina, Dolores Wilson sang with distinction and acted the part satisfactorily, though with a trifle less spirit than I could have wished for. Fernando Corena was an excellent Leporello and Cesare Valletti, in one of his best roles, stopped the show with Don Ottavio's air, "II mio tesoro."

Margaret Harshaw sang beautifully as Donna Anna and Lucine Amara, whose voice was a bit edgy and unpredictable in volume in the first half, settled down to lovely account of her second-act solo. Lorenzo Alvary gave a seasoned, reliable performance as Masetto, and Luben Vichey was properly impressive as the Commendatore.

The Met's "Don Giovanni" still needs work, but it has come a long way.

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