[Met Performance] CID:186120
Aida {639} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/5/1960.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 5, 1960


AIDA {639}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Leonie Rysanek
Radamès.................Carlo Bergonzi
Amneris.................Giulietta Simionato
Amonasro................Anselmo Colzani
Ramfis..................Giorgio Tozzi
King....................Louis Sgarro
Messenger...............Robert Nagy
Priestess...............Mignon Dunn
Dance...................Edith Jerell
Dance...................Bruce Marks
Dance...................Hubert Farrington

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

Production..............Margaret Webster
Stage Director..........Hans Busch
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov

[Zachary Solov received credit for choreography throughout the season,
sharing it with Mattlyn Gavers beginning April 14.]

Aida received fifteen performances this season.


Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America

This memorably fiery performance had the Metropolitan audience literally roaring with excitement. Verdi wrote "Aida" for a cast of musical giants, and when the work is sung, as it was on this occasion, by artists prevailingly of the first rank, it is still a crushing experience.

Mr. Verchi was conducting it for the first time at the Metropolitan, and he was inspired by his singers to a pitch of inspiration and a grandiose conception that I would not have anticipated, judging from what I had heard him do in other works. It was also the first time that Anselmo Colzani had sung the role of Amonasro and that Mignon Dunn had sung the role of the priestess at the Metropolitan.

Mr. Colzani did not have the most opulent voice in the world, but how adroitly he used his resources and how vivid and commanding a stage figure he presented! Notable were his splendid diction (every word was clear) and his sense of dramatic detail. Everything that Amonasro was thinking or feeling came alive before our eyes. Here is a real artist. Miss Dunn's voice sounded properly mysterious and sensuous.

For once, the Aida and the Amneris were evenly matched. Each was superb in her own right. Miss Rysanek, whether cutting through the entire ensemble with soaring top tones, or spinning the most magical pianissimos, was an Aïda to dream about. And Miss Simionato encompassed every facet of the impassioned and unhappy princess with tremendous theatrical impact. Though her voice has three distinct registers, she moves about the full range with perfect ease and adapts them to dramatic circumstances with virtuosic control. How exciting were those cavernous chest tones! And yet she could pour forth a gleaming high A of purest soprano coloring at the end of the trial scene.

Mr. Bergonzi is an Italian tenor with both taste and brains, and that is news. Although his natural voice is too light and lyric for the heroic role of Radames, he sings it with thrilling power and impact, because he knows exactly how to husband his resources and to project the big phrases. Of the others in the familiar cast, Mr. Tozzi was outstanding. All basses should bless Verdi's name, and Mr. Tozzi's Ramfis was a balm to ears inured to the growling in the depths so often encountered in this role.

The ballet, too, won a prolonged ovation for itself at this first performance of the season. It was indeed a banner evening.



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