[Met Performance] CID:188360
Rigoletto {411} O'Keefe Center, Toronto, Canada: 06/2/1961.

(Review)


Toronto, Canada
O'Keefe Center
June 2, 1961


RIGOLETTO {411}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Cornell MacNeil
Gilda...................Laurel Hurley
Duke of Mantua..........Barry Morell
Maddalena...............Rosalind Elias
Sparafucile.............William Wilderman
Monterone...............Bonaldo Giaiotti
Borsa...................Gabor Carelli
Marullo.................Clifford Harvuot
Count Ceprano...........George Cehanovsky
Countess Ceprano........Mildred Allen
Giovanna................Thelma Votipka
Page....................Joan Wall
Guard...................Paul De Paola

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

Review of John Kraglund in the Toronto Globe and Mail

MacNeil's Rigoletto Shows Promise of Greatness

Verdi's "Rigoletto" is one of the many operas that is easy to find fault with, musically and dramatically. Yet with a good singing actor in the title role, it still manages to be extremely effective theatre. And it was quite effective last night, when it was presented by the Metropolitan Opera Company with Cornell MacNeil as Rigoletto. In some respects, this sixth production of the Rotary-sponsored opera season at O'Keefe Centre was the best to date. Conductor Nino Verchi chose excellent tempos and retained a nice balance between orchestra and singers. Moreover, he was further blessed with first-class execution of the choruses, a consistently weak factor in earlier productions.

Mr. MacNeil may be rightly identified as one of the Met's most promising young stars. What he lacks in dramatic impact can come only with experience. He already has a rich, resonant voice and a strong feeling for the role. He does not yet involve the audience fully in his characterization, but there were moments in the third act that indicated that he will rise to the hoped-for heights. If Laurel Hurley, as Gilda, had given as touching a performance throughout as she did in her dying scene, she might have captured top honors for the evening. As it was, her rather mannered interpretation and liberties with the music made it difficult to regard her seriously in either the second or third acts.

The dashing Duke of last night's production was Barry Morell, agreeable in appearance and movement, but rather light of voice. As has happened with other singers this week, he provided evidence that a steady, musical performance is not necessarily a communicative one. Too much of the dash was left to physical aspects, which were not likely to reach the more distant members of the audience. On the other hand William Wildermann as Sparafucile and Rosalind Elias as Maddalena combined visual and vocal artistry with telling effect. Mr. Wildermann's rich voice threatened to steal some of the scenes and Miss Elias' strong mezzo-soprano was every bit in evidence as her appearance.

The Herbert Graf production, with sets and costumes by Eugene Berman and direction by Nathaniel Merrill, has stood up well over the years.



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