[Met Performance] CID:187210
Aida {644} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/20/1961.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 20, 1961


AIDA {644}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Leontyne Price
Radamès.................Eugenio Fernandi
Amneris.................Irene Dalis
Amonasro................Robert Merrill
Ramfis..................Giorgio Tozzi
King....................Ezio Flagello
Messenger...............Robert Nagy
Priestess...............Carlotta Ordassy
Dance...................Thomas Andrew
Dance...................Hubert Farrington
Dance...................Katharyn Horne

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.]

Leontyne Price first Aida Feb. 20, 1961 187210

Review of Irving Kolodin in The Saturday Review
There was more cheer for the future of the Metropolitan in Leontyne Price's first Aida, vocally fervent, dramatically vital. In a part that develops in a long arch from feigned humility to self-elected entombment, Miss Price put her strongest effort just where it should be, in the Nile scene's "O cieli azzurri." Its subtly shaded fine points, artistically contrasted with a ringing dramatic climax, brought here the longest, most unified response a singer has had from a Metropolitan audience since Nilsson's first Isolde.

One can sing Verdi very well, and still not be the vivid kind of Aida Miss Price conveyed. A truly regal African apparition, Miss Price's identity with the role is decidedly more than skin-deep. It is, as yet, not as well articulated dramatically as it is musically, especially in the early scenes where her servitude is conveyed by stagey, rather makeshift gestures. But she sustained a consistently high score in such matters as even texture of sound, dynamic contrasts, and thoughtful phrasing. Beautiful soft tones as well as the power to override the ensemble of the triumphal scene are the marks of a fine Aida, and Miss Price has both at her disposal. Now and then she finished off a phrase with a rather awkward explosion of sound on a final note or the rough-sounding, gaspy accent called a "glottis stroke." She has too much in her favor to perpetuate such crudities.

Crudities were rather too abundant otherwise with her associates, always excepting the unexceptionable Giorgio Tozzi as Ramfis. Eugenio Fernandi should not be trying to sing Radames at the Metropolitan, but he is young and may learn. Both Robert Merrill's posturing and pumping for sound hardly become so experienced a performer. Irene Dalis was the Amneris. Conductor Nino Verchi kept order but did not exert leadership.


Photograph of Leontyne Price as Aida by Louis Mélançon.



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