[Met Performance] CID:189090
Tosca {409} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/2/1961.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 2, 1961


TOSCA {409}

Tosca...................Mary Curtis-Verna
Cavaradossi.............Daniele Barioni
Scarpia.................George London
Sacristan...............Fernando Corena
Spoletta................Paul Franke
Angelotti...............Norman Scott
Sciarrone...............George Cehanovsky
Shepherd................Alan Fischer
Jailer..................Roald Reitan

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

Review of Ronald Eyer in the Herald Tribune

London, Mary Curtis-Verna Head Cast of 'Tosca' at Met

Simply because they are constructed so well, musically and dramatically, some operas are virtually foolproof. Puccini's "Tosca," however, is not one of them. When "Tosca" is good, it is tremendous. When it is bad, it is simply terrible.

Last night's performance at the Metropolitan was neither tremendous nor terrible. It was something queasy in between. It was what, in Paducah, might be considered a fair road-show production. George London still is a great Scarpia. Fernando Corena is a dignified, though droll and lyrical Sacristan. Paul Franke is a fine specimen of a shifty-eyed weasel as Spoletta, And Norman Scott is a serviceable Angelotti.

But Puccini's operas were written around, and depend almost exclusively upon their heroines. And Mary Curtis-Verna, bless her for a good trouper, is no Floria Tosca. The girl meant well and she stepped in on short notice to substitute for Dorothy Kirsten, who was serving herself to substitute tonight for the ailing Leontyne Price in "Madama Butterfly." But her sense of the tremendous dramatic tour de force of Tosca is far too superficial and her concept of acting is far too elementary to make the role anything but faintly ludicrous. Her "Vissi d'Arte" was well enough sung, but it was delivered like a number on a recital program.

Daniele Barioni, returning after an absence of two seasons, is what, in his native
Italy, probably would be considered an ideal Cavaradossi. He is young, though thick in the middle; he has a good-looking face, and he has a high, stentorian tenor that probably has won prizes for sheer decibel strength and staying power. If there had been any crystal around, his "Victoria!" in the second act certainly would have shattered it.

One of the best showings of the evening was that of Kurt Adler who conducted as sane and subtle a performance as could reasonably be expected considering the circumstances,



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