[Met Performance] CID:170790
Un Ballo in Maschera {65} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/2/1956.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 2, 1956


UN BALLO IN MASCHERA {65}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Somma

Amelia..................Zinka Milanov
Riccardo................Mario Ortica
Renato..................Robert Merrill
Ulrica..................Martha Lipton
Oscar...................Dolores Wilson
Samuel..................Giorgio Tozzi
Tom.....................Norman Scott
Silvano.................Calvin Marsh
Judge...................James McCracken
Servant.................Charles Anthony

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

Review signed F. M. in Musical America

A capable and attractive cast was not enough to rescue from the limbo of routine this performance of "Ballo," one of the most delicious of all Verdi operas. None of the characters really caught fire except the heroine - and Zinka Milanov has been in better voice. Perhaps some of the blame may he laid with Tibor Kozma, who conducted his first "Ballo" of the season with deftness and admirable tempos, but seemed preoccupied with avoiding the excesses of passion that are not only germane to a story like this but the very lifeblood of the music.

Renato is one of Robert Merrill's best roles, and the baritone acquitted himself with his customary vocal aplomb. Miss Milanov's Amelia was, as always, affecting to watch and rich to listen to, but the soprano undeniably was having trouble with her phrases, which emerged often as a broken rather than a continuous line. Mario Ortica, singing his first Riccardo at the Metropolitan, remained an enigma. His voice sounded fresh and penetrating when it was audible, which was chiefly in passages of a soaring cantilena nature. Less juicy moments tended to be unpredictable; slancio is no substitute for sustained projection. But "E scherzo od e follia" had a boyish gaiety about it, and other scenes suggested that what Mr. Ortica really needs is more experience.

Martha Lipton made the most of her one scene as Ulrica, a role she was singing likewise for the first time. The mezzo looked handsome and sounded sumptuous so long as she did not force her tones. Dolores Wilson's Oscar was charming and musical, while Giorgio Tozzi and Norman Scott were villains of their usual high standard.



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