[Met Performance] CID:170590
Lucia di Lammermoor {273} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/14/1956., Broadcast

(Broadcast
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 14, 1956 Matinee Broadcast


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {273}
Donizetti-Cammarano

Lucia...................Lily Pons
Edgardo.................Jan Peerce
Enrico..................Frank Valentino
Raimondo................Nicola Moscona
Normanno................James McCracken
Alisa...................Thelma Votipka
Arturo..................Paul Franke
Dance...................Zebra Nevins
Dance...................Karl Klauser

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Set designer............Richard Rychtarik
Costume designer........Richard Rychtarik
Costume designer........Ruth Morley
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov

Lucia di Lammermoor received six performances this season.

[Morley designed costumes only for the ballet. Pons' costumes were designed by Valentina.]

Review of Robert Sabin in the January 15, 1956 issue of Musical America

At her 25th anniversary celebration at the Metropolitan Opera on Jan. 3, Lily Pons had sung the Mad Scene, but this was the season's first presentation of the complete opera. Miss Pons's performance was a lesson in control, stylishness, and expert judgment. She sensed unerringly when to expend her full vocal resources; she never forced or hurried; and she co-coordinated voice, movemen, and gesture so smoothly that each enhanced the others. Apart from one or two top tones, her intonation was impeccable and her voice sounded remarkably fresh. She is singing better now than she did ten years ago. There are other ways of doing Lucia, but, granted its premises, this was a supremely skillful performance. As always, she was stunningly costumed, which had only one unfortunate effect: it made all of the others look frightfully dowdy. (The Metropolitan's production of "Lucia di Lammermoo, as far as its general scenery, costumes and stage direction are concerned,well deserves my favorite nickname for the work, "Lucia di Jammermoor").

Miss Pons was the heroine of the afternoon, in more senses than one, for none of the others matched her. Fausto Cleva, usually emotionally searching even when he is too vehement, seldom brought the score to life, and the orchestra sounded tired and overworked, which, heaven knows, it is. Jan Peerce, as Edgardo, was at his best only in the last scene, where his singing took on an ease and variety of color that had been lacking earlier. Frank Valentino, who has been singing very well this season, tried the explosive, melodramatic style on this occasion. He should quickly abandon it and also insist on a costume that does not look like a ladies' bathing dress, vintage 1910.

The indispensable Thelma Votipka, who has sung countless companions, mothers, cousins and aunts at the Metropolitan, as far back as I care to remember, was an excellent Alisa. (I do not think I have ever heard Miss Votipka give a bad or careless performance.) Nicola Moscona brought a pleasing depth and resonance to the role of Raimondo; Paul Franke substituted for Thomas Hayward, who was indisposed, as Arturo, in satisfactory style; and James McCracken was properly bluff and vigorous, as Normanno. The chorus was wobbly.

A pleasant feature of the performance was the handsome and quite authentic Scottish Sword Dance by the ballet, attractively costumed by Ruth Morley, with choreography by Zachary Solov.



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