[Met Performance] CID:170460
Die Fledermaus {64} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/31/1955.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 31, 1955
In English


DIE FLEDERMAUS {64}
Joh. Strauss Jr.-Haffner/R. Genée

Rosalinde...............Eleanor Steber
Eisenstein..............Charles Kullman
Adele...................Virginia MacWatters
Alfred..................Thomas Hayward
Prince Orlofsky.........Jarmila Novotna
Dr. Falke...............John Brownlee
Dr. Blind...............Paul Franke
Frank...................Clifford Harvuot
Ida.....................Mary Ellen Moylan
Frosch..................Jack Mann
Dance...................Mary Ellen Moylan
Dance...................Oleg Briansky
Guest Artist............Renata Tebaldi

Adriana Lecouvreur: Io son l'umile ancella
Renata Tebaldi

Turina: Cantares (Encore)
Sicilian Folksong (Encore)
Renata Tebaldi
Martin Rich, Piano

Conductor...............Tibor Kozma

Director................Garson Kanin
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov
Staged by...............Robert Herman
Translation by Dietz, Kanin

Die Fledermaus received six performances this season.

Review of Robert Sabin in the January 1, 1956 issue of Musical America


Spirits were high and flowing freely at the Metropolitan Opera's sixth annual New Year's Eve performance of "Fledermaus". The surprise at Prince Orlofsky's party in Act II this year was the appearance of Renata Tebaldi, who was introduced to the audience by John Brownlee, in his role as Dr. Falke, the noted Ballmaster. (Last year, the Vienna Choir Boys made a surprise appearance in the New Year's Eve performance.)

Faultlessly gowned in a style that must have sent pangs of envy through hundreds of feminine bosoms, Miss Tebaldi also displayed faultless vocal form. With orchestral accompaniment, she sang "Io son l'umile ancella," from Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvreur;" then, donning a white mantilla, the "Cantares" of Turina and a Sicilian folksong, with piano accompaniment by Martin Rich. The Cilea aria created a momentary mood of sadness and introspection in the evening of wild gaiety that was somehow very refreshing.

Another highlight was the dancing of Mary Ellen Moylan, Oleg Briansky and the corps de ballet, also in Act II. Miss Moylan positively floated; Mr. Briansky revealed all of the elegance and brilliance that had been lacking in his debut appearance; and the corps was equally polished. Zachary Solov's choreography for this scene has an openness, clarity of design and economy of detail that he should cultivate more frequently in his work. One of the longest ovations of the evening rewarded the dancers.

As for the operetta itself, it was performed in a madcap fashion with the emphasis on low comedy that obviously pleased the audience and that was forgivable in view of the occasion, if not in the best musical taste. Tibor Kozma whipped up the score to a froth of excitement and the singers tossed off their roles with similar insouciance. Eleanor Steber, as Rosalinda, used a weird pseudo-Southern accent in her spoken lines, but reverted to English in her arias. Virginia MacWatters, substituting as Adele for Patrice Munsel, who was indisposed, also played strictly for laughs and obtained them in equally generous measure. Miss Moylan took the role of Ida, delivering her spoken lines with a clarity that would put many a singer to shame. The others in the familiar cast were Charles Kullman, as Eisenstein; Thomas Hayward, as Alfred; Jarmila Novotna, as Orlofsky; Clifford Harvuot, as Frank; Paul Franke, as Dr. Blind; and the wonderfully dead-pan comedian Jack Mann, as Frosch. Miss Novotna, as the fantastically rich and bored Prince, interpolated some verses that included the lines: "But if you think that life will be tough/For dear old Foster Dulles,/Just think that Bing has Milanov, /Tebaldi and La Callas." The audience loved it.



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