[Met Performance] CID:188380
La Traviata {455} O'Keefe Center, Toronto, Canada: 6/3/1961.

(Review)


Toronto, Canada
O'Keefe Center
June 3, 1961


LA TRAVIATA {455}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Anna Moffo
Alfredo.................Jan Peerce
Germont.................Calvin Marsh
Flora...................Helen Vanni
Gastone.................Gabor Carelli
Baron Douphol...........Roald Reitan
Marquis D'Obigny........George Cehanovsky
Dr. Grenvil.............Clifford Harvuot
Annina..................Mildred Allen
Giuseppe................Anthony Balestrieri
Gardener................John Trehy

Conductor...............Kurt Adler

Review of John Beckwith in the Toronto Star

Moffo Near Perfection in 'Traviata'

The matinee and evening presentations by the Metropolitan Opera Company at the O'Keefe Centre yesterday brought two Verdi operas - "La Traviata" and "Aida." After Anna Moffo's hypnotizing, near-perfect performance in "La Traviata," the "Aida," despite occasional moments, was pretty much a letdown.

In this same "Traviata" last season Miss Moffo had revealed a stunning presence and a stylistic response of exceptional finesse. She is one of the most intelligent vocal artists at present before the public. From yesterday's performance I would judge, besides, that she is steadily improving an already well-controlled voice-technique. Her high tones were faultlessly in tune, delivered commandingly and with all the expressive urgency the role requires. The coloratura stretches of "Sempre libera," paced a notch or two faster than usual, were flawlessly executed.

Projects Character

But it's wrong to separate the vocal element from the over-all act of performance here - because the striking thing is how Miss Moffo blends her resources towards the projecting of character. Watch her and you see the petulant, party-loving girl give way to the woman whose sentiments are genuinely touched by the encounter with Alfredo. Note, for instance, her reaction as she glimpses him in the mirror of her cosmetic case. Later you see her supporting herself on a slender pillar of Act Two's summer house, crying "Morro!" - and finally, hair and face drawn, falling to her knees with the despairing "God, I cannot!" in act four. Observe how swiftly she moves from a chesty sob or a low-level spoken passage into a singing tone focused with complete accuracy.

A marvel - and one of which the rest of the "Traviata" performance yesterday was not altogether worthy. There were orchestral roughnesses, especially in the overture and in the accompaniment of Germont's aria of Act Two; there were also bobbled entries by the tenor, Dino Formichini, and the baritone, Robert Merrill.

In Mr. Formichini's case the cause may have been nervousness; in general, he sang extremely well, and did his best to overcome an awkward discrepancy between his height and Miss Moffo's. As for Mr. Merrill, I'm afraid he gave the impression of condescending to a matinee crowd; though the golden tones poured forth, his mind seemed elsewhere than on the character of Germont.






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