[Met Performance] CID:176140
Don Giovanni {187} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/13/1957.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 13, 1957


DON GIOVANNI {187}

Don Giovanni............George London
Donna Anna..............Eleanor Steber
Don Ottavio.............Nicolai Gedda
Donna Elvira............Lisa Della Casa
Leporello...............Ezio Flagello
Zerlina.................Laurel Hurley
Masetto.................Theodor Uppman
Commendatore............Giorgio Tozzi

Conductor...............Karl Böhm

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

'Giovanni' Repeated at Metropolitan

The Metropolitan Opera's new production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" was repeated last night with personnel changes involving exactly half of the cast. More precisely, George London sang his initial Don of the season, and Laurel Hurley, Nicolai Gedda and Ezio Flagello (substituting for the indisposed Fernando Corena) were heard singing the roles of Zerlina, Ottavio and Leporello for the first time with the company. The remaining singers of the evening were Eleanor Steber as Donna Anna, Lisa Della Casa as Donna Elvira, Giorgio Tozzi as II Commendatore and Theodor Uppman as Masetto. As before, Karl Bõhm conducted.

Though it is generally overlooked, the Don's role - difficult to begin with - is all the more trying by virtue of the fact that Mozart's hero has only two short arias to call his own. For the rest, he must make his effect in, ensembles, which by definition include the participation of other performers who may very well steal his thunder. It is therefore doubly to the credit of any Don Juan who manages, with fair damsels crowding him on all sides, to capture the center of the stage whenever he appears. And George London, it seems to me, is just such a Don. He is dashing, he has aplomb, and his charm is contagious. He is, moreover, a wholly adult Don, indicating simply that he does not drool over the opera's females, but makes them, instead, drool over him.

The other principals, also, were thoroughly at home in their new assignments. Miss Hurley is a born coquette - in the theater, at any rate - and her fetching voice and winning poses make Zerlina a creature of rare style and high spirit. And Nicolai Gedda was a rich-throated Ottavio, whose air, "Dalla sua pace," emerged like an endless silver thread; ready to coil with precisely the resilience demanded of the music. Finally, Mr. Flagello, a winner last season of the Metropolitan Auditions of the Air, is a healthy addition to the company's rather slim roster of basso-buffos. At his best, in voice and appearance he resembles Salvatore Baccaloni in the old days, and he even uses his hands in the Neapolitan tradition that allows for visual dramatic "asides" a mite too indelicate for words. As for his voice, he uses that, too, in a hearty Italian sense, his tone ringing clearly, fully, resonantly, with none of the fuzz that sometimes attaches to a bass' range



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