[Met Performance] CID:183200
Cavalleria Rusticana {411}
Pagliacci {450}
Metropolitan Opera House: 11/16/1959.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 16, 1959


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA {411}

Santuzza................Giulietta Simionato
Turiddu.................Jussi Björling
Lola....................Rosalind Elias
Alfio...................Walter Cassel
Mamma Lucia.............Thelma Votipka

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


PAGLIACCI {450}

Nedda...................Gloria Davy
Canio...................Dimiter Uzunov
Tonio...................Cornell MacNeil
Silvio..................Mario Sereni
Beppe...................Charles Anthony
Villager................Joseph Folmer
Villager................William Starling

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

Review of Richard Lewis in the December 1, 1959 issue of Musical America

No victorious Caesar returning to Rome could have produced a greater ovation than that which greeted Jussi Bjoerling when he made his entrance as Turiddu in "Cavalleria Rusticana." The opera came to a standstill, and the audience gave forth an explosive bravo that even now continues to linger as a reminder of a performance which was transcendent and electrifying.

Mr. Bjoerling, who has been absent for two years, is one of the great tenors of our time. His clear and beautifully focused voice, even when heard in the Prologue behind the thick curtain, could ecstatically project a refined expressiveness, all-embracing in its warmth. His dramatic sense is unerring, and his ability to portray the nuances of a character equally acute. One will not forget the pathos in Mr. Bjoerling's voice, when, foreseeing that he will die in his duel with Alfio, he suddenly becomes a trembling child and asks his mother to bless him and protect Santuzza. It will be a long time before we hear another duet like the one Mr. Bjoerling sang with Giulietta Simionato - a duet which steadily grew in its elemental passions until, at the end, it left the audience mesmerized.

The whole performance, with Miss Simionato as Santuzza, Rosalind Elias as Lola, Walter Cassel as Alfio, Thelma Votipka as Mamma Lucia and the beautiful conducting of Nino Verchi, set off Mr. Bjoerling's homecoming in a manner befitting an historic occasion.

The remainder of the evening was devoted to a performance of "Pagliacci", with Gloria Davy as Nedda, Dimiter Uzunov as Canio, Cornell MacNeil as Tonio, and Mario Sereni as Silvio, in familiar roles.



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