[Met Performance] CID:173130
Aida {600} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/13/1956.

(Debut: Antonietta Stella, Carlo Bergonzi, Geoffrey Holder
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 13, 1956


AIDA {600}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Antonietta Stella [Debut]
Radamès.................Carlo Bergonzi [Debut]
Amneris.................Fedora Barbieri
Amonasro................George London
Ramfis..................Nicola Moscona
King....................Louis Sgarro
Messenger...............James McCracken
Priestess...............Heidi Krall
Dance...................Mary Ellen Moylan
Dance...................Geoffrey Holder [Debut]

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

Production..............Margaret Webster
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov
Stage Director..........Robert Herman

Aida received seven performances this season.

Review of Miles Kastendieck in the N. Y. Journal-American:
Excitement took hold of the audience attending the season's first "Aida" at the Metropolitan last night. The debuts of Antionetta Stella in the title role and Carlo Bergonzi as Radames aroused tremendous enthusiasm. The performance itself stirred up as much again. Suddenly this became the biggest night of the opera season to date. Cheers resounded through the house.

All the tumult was quite justified. Right from the beginning, the newcomers sparked the performance, but the remainder of the cast was keyed to do its best. Furthermore, Fausto Cleva rose to the occasion and conducted one of his finest performances. Verdi's music did the rest.

Miss Stella created a sensation even though she may not be completely sensational. She may still prove so, for she is prodigal of voice and talented in acting. In using too much power, she endangered the quality of her voice, and in singing her big arias she appeared dramatic without always moving the listener.

Her pianissimo singing was beautiful, her range of dynamics impressive, and her bearing that of a princess, as handsome in looks as in action. That she is a significant addition to the Met, there is no question.

By no means eclipsed by the success of his Italian partner, Bergonzi achieved his stature in the third act. He had started well in being definitely above the average Italian tenor these days in singing musically. While not endowed with a "ringing" voice, he has the essential quality. The fervor began to show late in his performance and some flexibility finally came in action. He contributed considerable to the high standards of the performance.

Fedora Barbieri sang Amneris in her best voice and manner, finding herself at last and deserving the ovation after the judgment scene. George London made Amonasro outstanding as usual, dominating his scenes as fitting a king.

Louis Sgarro made the King of Egypt a real personage. Nicola Moscona sang reliably as Ramfis. Heidi Krall sounded well off-stage as the Priestess.

It was another quality cast.

Photograph of Antonietta Stella as Aida by Frank Lerner
Photograph of Carlo Bergonzi as Radamès by Louis Mélançon




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