[Met Performance] CID:186560
Simon Boccanegra {41} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/19/1960.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 19, 1960


SIMON BOCCANEGRA {41}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave/Arrigo Boito

Simon Boccanegra........Frank Guarrera
Amelia..................Renata Tebaldi
Gabriele Adorno.........Richard Tucker
Jacopo Fiesco...........Giorgio Tozzi
Paolo Albiani...........Ezio Flagello
Pietro..................Norman Scott
Maid....................Maria Yauger
Captain.................Robert Nagy

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

Director................Margaret Webster
Stage Director..........Michael Manuel
Set designer............Frederick Fox
Costume designer........Motley

Simon Boccanegra received six performances this season.

Review of Robert Sabin in the February 1961 issue of Musical America

The return of Renata Tebaldi, one of the most exciting and beloved of operatic singers in our time, would have been enough to make this a gala evening, but the others in the cast were also keyed up by the special nature of the occasion. It was also the season's first performance of this Verdian masterpiece, in some ways the most touching work he ever wrote. As Fritz Stiedry (who used to conduct "Simon Boccanegra" marvelously at the Metropolitan) once said, Verdi is perhaps at his best in his musical portrayal of moods of tenderness and reconciliation. Certainly, no score of his is richer in workmanship and color. It has the gorgeous hues of a Titian and the dynamic range of light-and-shade of a Tintoretto.

Amelia is not one of Miss Tebaldi's happiest roles, and yet she does such superb things in it that one willingly forgets the dramatic and vocal shortcomings. In the scenes with Gabriele and in the great ensembles she let her voice soar, and there were many delicate little phrases that were exquisite in color and shape. The top voice was hard in quality, but it was firmly controlled. If only she would get rid of those dowdy costumes that make her look like a daughter of Queen Victoria, she would achieve more of the girlish charm desirable in this part. But there are very few singers in the world today who could make as much of this music as she does, in an operatic sense.

Mr. Tucker, who is in top form this season, performed the role of Gabriele with maximum vocal impact. He may not look like a passionate young Italian, but he certainly knows how to sing
like one, and that is what counts most in opera. As Fiesco, Mr. Tozzi sang beautifully, although it is hard for this warm and lovable artist to portray moods of hate convincingly.

I still consider Mr. Guarrera's Boccanegra the finest thing he has done at the Metropolitan and a highly satisfying achievement. Without the opulence of voice of some of his colleagues, he brings to his performance a sincerity and a capacity to use his resources to the utmost that result in a deeply moving portrayal. Also admirable was the Paolo of Mr. Flagello.

Mr. Verchi gave his singers good support, but he did not get out of this profound score the human wisdom and emotional range that his predecessors at the helm have found in it.



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