[Met Performance] CID:176490
La Traviata {419} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/17/1957.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
December 17, 1957


LA TRAVIATA {419}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Licia Albanese
Alfredo.................Giuseppe Campora
Germont.................Robert Merrill
Flora...................Helen Vanni
Gastone.................Charles Anthony
Baron Douphol...........Calvin Marsh
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Clifford Harvuot
Annina..................Mildred Allen
Giuseppe................Robert Nagy
Gardener................Osie Hawkins

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

Review of J. Cartin McKenney in the Philadelphia News

Met Presents 'La Traviata'

After the Metropolitan Opera performance "La Traviata" last night, a Licia Albanese fan had a right to ask: "Why couldn't Verdi have started his blasted opera in the second act?" Then the dearest diva of them all would have been home safe.

But there are Verdi fans, too. The fact is that after 18 fine seasons at the Met, Mme. Albanese still delivers Acts 2, 3 and 4 with a style that few contemporary sopranos can approach. The vocal pyrotechnics are in the first act, however. With a liberal transposition and every conceivable accommodation from conductor Fausto Cleva, they were still beyond the soprano last night. To use a profane but accurate parallel, Rudolf Bing has the same sad duty as the baseball manager who finds that his star shortstop has lost that half-step. Licia Albanese, justly admired artist that she is, should be retired from "Traviata" duty.

But what of young Giuseppe Campora? Here is tenor who came here only four years ago with a fine lyric voice and considerable artistry. Since then he's suffered an alarming loss of range, and the artistry has all but vanished. Still, this performance had one bright silver lining named Robert Merrill. In excellent voice throughout, his superb portrayal of Germont was an assurance that the tradition of Giuseppe De Luca still has one champion at the Met.

This was a new production of "La Traviata," incidentally. Oliver Smith's settings and Rolf Gerard's costumes were among its credits. Static staging by Hans Busch and the above-mentioned casting deficiencies were its debits. Verdi came out about even.



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