[Met Performance] CID:183180
La Traviata {434} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/14/1959.

(Debut: Anna Moffo
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 14, 1959 Matinee


LA TRAVIATA {434}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Anna Moffo [Debut]
Alfredo.................Cesare Valletti
Germont.................Cornell MacNeil
Flora...................Helen Vanni
Gastone.................Gabor Carelli
Baron Douphol...........Calvin Marsh
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis Sgarro
Annina..................Teresa Stratas
Giuseppe................Lou Marcella
Gardener................John Trehy

Conductor...............Nino Verchi

Review of Louis Biancolli in The World Telegram and Sun
One of the pluckiest Metropolitan debuts in years was that of Anna Moffo as Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata" Saturday afternoon.

Few soprano roles are tougher or more treacherous for a beginner-or anybody else-than Violetta. Singers usually reserve that assignment, when they tackle it at all, for the later years of maturity and confidence. Also, there were still ringing in our ears the ravishing tones of Victoria de los Angeles, who only sang the role the week before. To make things even tougher for herself, Miss Moffo decided to take the high E-flat in the big aria.

The first impression Saturday afternoon was of a very pretty and graceful young lady, tall and slender, who seemed completely at ease in all the festive commotion of the first act. So much for appearances. Next, it was obvious, Miss Moffo had a light and pleasant voice which she knew how to use; also, that she was something of an artist in the way she gave meaning to both words and music.

As for the high E-flat, she might have been smarter if she hadn't aimed for it. She overshot the mark, and the shrill tone stood out like an embarrassing intruder. Still it took a lot of spunk.

Here was, clearly, a determined American girl of fine musical feeling, with a flair for the theater, well-schooled in fundamentals, and hardly at all fazed by the awesome surroundings. Now 25, Miss Moffo has come a long way since winning a Philadelphia orchestra award in 1954, followed by a Fulbright grant to Italy, where she soon sang "Madama Butterfly" on TV.

A native of Wayne, Pa. she is of Italian background. Having sung at Spoleto, Milan, and Vienna, Miss Moffo returned for an American debut as Mimi in "La Boheme" at the Lyric Theater of Chicago in 1957. She makes an attractive addition to the Metropolitan company. Under pressure, tones sometimes sounded reedy on Saturday. In neither quality or size is the voice spectacular. But she has the makings of a star, and the stamina.

If anyone was spectacular Saturday, it was Cornell MacNeil, who, replacing the indisposed Robert Merrill sang Giorgio Germont for the first time at the Metropolitan as if God, nature, and Giuseppe Verdi had planned it that way. Caesar Valletti was again the Alfredo, and Nino Verchi conducted.



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