[Met Performance] CID:181440
Don Carlo {48} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/14/1959.

(Debut: Martina Arroyo
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 14, 1959
In Italian


DON CARLO {48}
Giuseppe Verdi--François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle

Don Carlo...............Eugenio Fernandi
Elizabeth of Valois.....Leonie Rysanek
Rodrigo.................Robert Merrill
Princess Eboli..........Nell Rankin
Philip II...............Cesare Siepi
Grand Inquisitor........Hermann Uhde
Celestial Voice.........Martina Arroyo [Debut]
Friar...................Louis Sgarro
Tebaldo.................Madelaine Chambers
Count of Lerma..........Robert Nagy
Countess of Aremberg....Audrey Keane
Herald..................William Olvis

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

Production..............Margaret Webster
Stage Director..........Hans Busch
Designer................Rolf Gérard

Translation by Lauzières, Zanardini

Don Carlo received five performances this season.

Review of Robert Sabin in the April 1959 issue of Musical America

We had to wait until late in the season for the return of Verdi's magnificent "Don Carlo," which is also one of the Metropolitan's most sumptuous productions, but it was well worth waiting for. Outstanding among the new members of the cast was Leonie Rysanek, who sang the role of Elizabeth not only for the first time at the Metropolitan but for the first time anywhere. It should be no secret by now to anyone that Miss Rysanek is one of the greatest singers and actresses at the Metropolitan today, and she made the unhappy young queen a profoundly touching character. Unforgettable was her ethereal pianissimo singing in the last act, but she could summon the whirlwind, too, where it was needed.

Also new to the cast were Eugenio Fernandi in the title role; Robert Nagy, as Count Lerma; William Olvis, as a Royal Herald; and Martina Arroyo, who made her debut with the company as the Celestial Voice heard offstage in Act II, Scene 2.

Mr. Fernandi has a naturally beautiful voice and he has a passionate temperament. But he also has enormous amounts to learn still about style, stage deportment, and the subtler aspects of singing and acting. At its best, his singing was as stirring as a trumpet call, but lamentably often he forced his voice or indulged in melodramatic and sentimental distortions.

Mr. Nagy and Mr. Olvis performed their minor roles satisfactorily, and Miss Arroyo (after a muffled start) made the offstage voice sound really celestial. Audrey Keane also deserves a word of praise for her touching miming of the role of Countess Aremberg.

Robert Merrill, who has been in superb vocal form all season, was again at his best as Rodrigo. And the tempestuous Nell Rankin tore through "O don fatale" with a bravura that brought her a thunderous ovation. Her Eboli is a vivid figure, worthy of a Spanish canvas.

One of the most distinguished achievements of the evening was Hermann Uhde's terrifying portrayal of the Grand Inquisitor. (Unbelievable as it sounds, he had given a searing performance of the title role of "Wozzeck" only a few hours previously at the broadcast matinee).

Worthy to stand beside this was the vivid characterization of the tragic Philip II by Cesare Siepi. Philip's monologue in Act III, Scene 1, is one of Verdi's unique portraits in tone, and Mr. Siepi conveyed its bitterness and gloom with memorable artistry. Admirable in other roles were Madelaine Chambers as the page, Theobald; and Louis Sgarro, as the Friar.

There was still another "first." Fausto Cleva conducted the work for the first time at the Metropolitan, and, although he did not strike the deeper one of compassion and grandeur that Fritz Stiedry used to bring out in it, he effected a vital and workmanlike performance.



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