[Met Performance] CID:176890
Gianni Schicchi {58}
Salome {49}
Metropolitan Opera House: 01/24/1958.

(Debuts: Andrew Strasfogel, Inge Borkh
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 24, 1958


GIANNI SCHICCHI {58}
Puccini-Forzano

Gianni Schicchi.........Fernando Corena
Lauretta................Nadine Conner
Rinuccio................Gabor Carelli
Nella...................Mildred Allen
Ciesca..................Thelma Votipka
Zita....................BelÚn Amparan
Gherardo................Alessio De Paolis
Betto...................George Cehanovsky
Marco...................Clifford Harvuot
Simone..................Nicola Moscona
Gherardino..............Andrew Strasfogel [Debut]
Spinelloccio............Gerhard Pechner
Amantio.................Ezio Flagello
Pinellino...............Osie Hawkins
Guccio..................Louis Sgarro

Conductor...............Dimitri Mitropoulos

Director................Hans Busch
Set designer............Horace Armistead

Gianni Schicchi received six performances this season.


SALOME {49}
R. Strauss-O. Wilde/Lachmann

Salome..................Inge Borkh [Debut]
Herod...................Norman Kelley
Herodias................Blanche Thebom
Jochanaan...............Mack Harrell
Narraboth...............Jon Crain
Page....................Margaret Roggero
Jew.....................Charles Anthony
Jew.....................Robert Nagy
Jew.....................Alessio De Paolis
Jew.....................Paul Franke
Jew.....................Lawrence Davidson
Nazarene................William Wilderman
Nazarene................Calvin Marsh
Soldier.................Norman Scott
Soldier.................Louis Sgarro
Cappadocian.............Osie Hawkins
Slave...................Mildred Allen

Conductor...............Dimitri Mitropoulos

Director................Hans Busch
Set designer............Donald Oenslager

Salome received six performances this season.

Review of Ronald Eyer in the March 1958 issue of Musical America

A double bill combined Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" and Strauss's "Salome," both conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, for the first time this season. With respiratory ills apparently epidemic in the company, there were three last-minute replacements. We had Nadine Conner instead of Emilia Cundari as Lauretta and Mildred Allen instead of Madelaine Chambers as Nella in "Schicchi," and Norman Kelley instead of Ramon Vinay as Herod in "Salome".

All told, the "Schicchi" was the more successful performance. Fernando Corena gave a witty and brilliantly sung characterization of the title role. Nadine Conner sang her "O mio babbino caro" with charm and style and combined winsomely in the duet with Gabor Carelli who was a splendid Rinuccio. Outstanding among the long list of good dramatic performances were those of Belen Amparan as the Old Woman and Nicola Moscona as Simone.

The German soprano Inge Borkh made her Metropolitan debut in the title role of "Salome" and cut a rather controversial figure with some sharp divisions of opinion about the "rightness" of her interpretation. Granting the obvious fact that there never was and never will be a perfect Salome since, as Strauss himself said, the role requires "a 16-year-old girl with an Isolde voice," a good performance can only be assessed negatively as the one which is least unseemly.

Miss Borkh, who certainly possesses an Isolde-type voice, is a statuesque, but well-proportioned woman and clearly is not the fragile child-princess of Wilde's, and Strauss's, invention. But she has made a thoughtful, intelligent study of this impossible part; she has developed a characterization in which every detail is calculated, down to the smallest movements of the dance, and she produces an entity which is consistent and, therefore tasteful and, for many people, exciting. I personally prefer a more acidulous and penetrating voice, particularly in the lower reaches, and a somewhat simpler acting style (Strauss always deplored tendencies to overact the part).

Norman Kelley was a frenetic Herod and Blanche Thebom complemented him with the regally glacial, venomous Herodias that is one of her most notable characterizations. Mack Harrell sang very well and he did all that can be done with the undeveloped role of Jokanaan. The conducting of Mr. Mitropoulos was curiously uneven. He tended to slur over the lovely subtleties of the score and, in the succession of his tempos, to create slackness that vitiated the mounting tension which must be built relentlessly from beginning to end if the great closing scene is to be the tremendous psychological and musical catharsis it was intended to be. Despite Miss Borkh's fine work here, the final scene came almost as an anticlimax.



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