[Met Performance] CID:183050
Carmen {584} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/31/1959.

(Debut: Maria Nache
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 31, 1959


CARMEN {584}
Bizet-Meilhac/L. Halévy

Carmen..................Jean Madeira
Don José................William Olvis
Micaela.................Maria Nache [Debut]
Escamillo...............Robert Merrill
Frasquita...............Heidi Krall
Mercédès................Margaret Roggero
Remendado...............Paul Franke
Dancaïre................George Cehanovsky
Zuniga..................Louis Sgarro
Moralès.................Clifford Harvuot
Dance...................Lolita San Miguel
Dance...................Donald Martin

Conductor...............Jean Morel

Director................Tyrone Guthrie
Staged by...............Hans Busch
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov

Carmen received ten performances this season.

Review of Raymond A. Ericson in the November 15, 1958 issue of Musical America


The first performance of the season of Bizet's opera owed its excellence and many excitements to Jean Madeira, in the title role; William Olvis, in his first major role at the Metropolitan, as Don Jose; and Jean Morel, the conductor. The evening brought the debut with the company of Maria Nache, young Spanish soprano, as Micaëla. The occasion, finally, was a benefit sponsored by the Mizrachi Women's Organization.

Dark-skinned and black-haired, tall and slim, lithe in movement, Miss Madeira's Carmen was an extremely handsome gypsy. While there was an element of calculation in the characterization, here was a creature clearly given over to her senses-in her successive infatuations with Don Jose and Escamillo; her superstitious fear of the doom-laden cards; her false bravado in the face of death. Best of all, this was a vocally brilliant Carmen. Miss Madeira used her voice, at once solid and bright, to give a straightforward account of the music, which was more effective than most highly colored interpretations.

Mr. Olvis made a young, good-looking, emotionally vulnerable, highly appealing Don José, whose rejection by Carmen erupted in the passionate scene of her death. The tenor's fresh voice poured forth effortlessly throughout the evening, and the only fault to find with his singing was in a failure to enunciate the words clearly.

Miss Nache seemed a pleasant enough singer, as that dramatic cipher Micaëla, exhibiting a sweet personality and an attractive lyric voice. There was no exceptional vocal beauty or stylistic finesse to indicate that she is superior to many of the company's lyric sopranos who sing lesser roles.

Robert Merrill's sturdy voice shone forth in Escamillo's music. Other parts were filled by such responsible and painstaking Metropolitan artists as Heidi Kra1l (Frasquita), Margaret Roggero (Mercedes), Clifford Harvuot (Morales), George Cehanovsky (Dancaire), Paul Franke (Remendado), and Louis Sgarro (Zuniga).

Mr. Morel, whose readings of the Bizet score in the past have suggested an impersonal efficiency, brought a resilience of mood and warmth of emotion to the opera which animated it from beginning to end and had much more vitality and interest than usual. Hans Busch has seen to it that Tyrone Guthrie's direction, however debatable, is still followed as spontaneously as possible. The ballet was headed by Lolita San Miguel and Donald Martin.



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