[Met Performance] CID:184170
Aida {636} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/18/1960.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 18, 1960


AIDA {636}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Lucine Amara
Radamès.................Carlo Bergonzi
Amneris.................Giulietta Simionato
Amonasro................Frank Guarrera
Ramfis..................Norman Scott
King....................Ezio Flagello
Messenger...............Robert Nagy
Priestess...............Helen Vanni
Dance...................Lolita San Miguel
Dance...................Thomas Andrew
Dance...................Donald Martin

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

At this benefit performance Giulietta Simionato, who won general acclaim earlier in the season as Azucena and Santuzza, undertook the role of Amneris for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera. As one would have expected, the Italian mezzo-soprano was both vocally and dramatically very successful in the part.

Her resonant voice, with its great flexibility, its easily produced upper register and dark low notes, make Miss Simionato wonderfully suited for the role. I do not remember ever having heard so much of Amneris' music in the first scene of the opera, wherein the mezzo is usually drowned out by the soprano and the tenor, if not by the orchestra. The repeated phrases at the beginning of the second act, "Ah, vieni amor mio"-the stumbling-block of most singers-were beautifully controlled and perfectly phrased. Amneris' great scene comes, of course, in the first scene of Act IV, and Miss Simionato made the most of it. If ever proof was needed that the art of bel canto is still with us, the duet of Amneris and Radames as sung by Miss Simionato and Carlo Bergonzi would be a perfect example. The section "Ah, to dei vivere" was especially outstanding. Superbly gowned in luscious Italian costumes, and with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of jewels to match, Miss Simionato looked every inch a princess, being at all times dramatically completely convincing as well.

Mr. Bergonzi sang his first Radames of the season, and it was once again a joy to hear this superb lyric tenor in a role that suits him so well. Frank Guarrerra, also singing his part for the first time this season, was convincing as Amonasro. Lucine Amara substituted for an indisposed Antonietta Stella. Others in the cast were Ezio Flagello, Norman Scott, Robert Nagy and Helen Vanni. Fausto Cleva conducted.

Photograph of Giulietta Simionato as Amneris in Aida by Louis Mélançon/Metropolitan Opera.



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