[Met Performance] CID:180190
Otello {126} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/15/1958.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 15, 1958 Matinee


OTELLO {126}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Mario Del Monaco
Desdemona...............Renata Tebaldi
Iago....................Leonard Warren
Emilia..................Martha Lipton
Cassio..................Paul Franke
Lodovico................Nicola Moscona
MontÓno.................Clifford Harvuot
Roderigo................Charles Anthony
Herald..................Calvin Marsh

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

Director................Dino Yannopoulos
Set designer............Donald Oenslager
Set designer............Ellen Meyer

[In revising the sets for Acts I and IV, Meyer utilized elements from the previous production by Donald Oenslager. Acts II and III were essentially unchanged.]

Otello received six performances this season.


Review of Harold C. Schonberg in The New York Times

Top Cast Sings 'Otello' at the Met
Del Monaco, Warren, and Renata Tebaldi Excel in the Leading Roles

"Otello," given yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera, is Verdi at his best. At this occasion it was also the Metropolitan Opera at its best The cast did not contain a single weak member, and it was one of those performance animated by a mysterious surge of electricity that seemed to communicate itself to all the members. Even the orchestra musicians, normally a pretty blasÚ group of citizens,
applauded and cheered the singers after each act.

The cast was top-drawer- Mario Del Monaco in the title role, Renata Tebaldi as Desdemona and Leonard Warren as Iago. Secondary roles were superbly sung by Martha Lipton, Nicola Moscona, Paul Franke, Clifford Harvout, and Calvin Marsh. Fausto Cleva, who conducted also has something extra to contribute that added mightily to the performance.

Of Miss Tebaldi's Desdemona, the role in which she made her Metropolitan debut and in which she has been so admired, little need be said except that she was in magnificent, voice. Her singing sounded fresh, with none of the tremolo and
insecure intonation that can plague her when she is tired. Her top notes were full, strong and clear, and there was no audible break in her remarkable scale. When Miss Tebaldi is in this kind of form, no soprano can touch her.

The big surprise, to one listener, was Mr. Del Monaco's Otello. In the past he has shouted his way through the role. But on this occasion tempered his blasting high A's with some quite artistic, subdued phrasing. In the first-act duet he managed to get real tenderness into his "Un bacio," and he even refrained from going all-out on the final G flat that concludes the duet.

His basic vocal quality remains hard, but there is little he can do about that. On the other hand, the strength and conviction of his acting, the power he has for climaxes and the authority with which he has grown into the role make his easily the greatest Otello of the day and the finest one since Martinelli was in his prime.

An Overpowering Iago

Mr. Warren's Iago is also an overpowering conception. He has the style for the role, and he uses his big voice with consistent imagination. His singing of the Credo was a triumph. Aside from being in perfect vocal order the interpretation wrung dry the meaning of the words. And the "Era la notte" in which Warren never raised his voice above a mezzo-forte, was a triumph of oily insinuating suggestion.

It would be pleasant to dwell on the fine contributions of the other singers. Suffice it to say that all entered, into the spirit of the opera; and, one ventures to say, Mr. Franke's Cassio is on a par with any in Metropolitan history. If future "Otello"s this season come up to this one, New Yorkers should break down the doors to get in.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).