[Met Performance] CID:177510
Samson et Dalila {98} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/21/1958.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 21, 1958


SAMSON ET DALILA {98}

Samson..................Mario Del Monaco
Dalila..................Blanche Thebom
High Priest.............Clifford Harvuot
Abimélech...............Norman Scott
Old Hebrew..............William Wilderman
Philistine..............Gabor Carelli
Philistine..............Osie Hawkins
Messenger...............Robert Nagy
Dance...................Carmen De Lavallade
Dance...................Hubert Farrington

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

Review (unsigned) in the Herald Tribune

'Samson' Sung At the Met

The repeat performance of Saint-Saens' "Samson et Dalila" given by the Metropolitan Opera Friday night presented Blanche Thebom as Dalila for the first time this season and Clifford Harvuot as the High Priest for the first time in his Metropolitan career. William Wilderman, too, made a first appearance as the Old Hebrew. Both men were filling their roles as last-minute replacements, Mr. Harvuot substituting for Martial Singher and Mr. Wilderman going on for Giorgio Tozzi. Mario Del Monaco and Norman Scott headed the list of holdovers from last week's performance and Fausto Cleva conducted.

Mr. Harvuot was the most satisfying of the three newcomers. He has matured into an authoritative and commanding artist and, when he comes on stage, one knows that something is happening. His portrayal of the High Priest could have been more menacing than it was last night, and the chances are that it will become so in future performances. Mr. Wilderman sang his few lines well, and the next time around he will probably appear more comfortable as an actor.

Until the latter part of the second act, it was a bit difficult to believe in Miss Thebom as Dalila. This reporter could not help feeling that the mezzo-soprano's celebrated long hair (it literally reaches almost to her ankles) confused the central issue in the Samson-Dalila story, and it seemed to distract even the singer herself from the business at hand. (Before the evening had run its course, Mr. Del Monaco got tangled up in it.) Then, too, Miss Thebom's voice did not lend itself gracefully to the many awkward, low-lying vocal lines of the score. In short, it would seem that her estimable talents are better suited to other roles.



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