[Met Performance] CID:189730
Les Contes d'Hoffmann {103} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/3/1962.

(Debut: Morley Meredith
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 3, 1962


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN {103}
Jacques Offenbach-Jules Barbier


Hoffmann................Nicolai Gedda
Olympia.................Anna Moffo
Giulietta...............Anna Moffo
Antonia.................Anna Moffo
Stella..................Anna Moffo
Lindorf.................Morley Meredith [Debut]
Coppélius...............Morley Meredith
Dappertutto.............Morley Meredith
Dr. Miracle.............Morley Meredith
Nicklausse..............Helen Vanni
Andrès..................Alessio De Paolis
Cochenille..............Alessio De Paolis
Pitichinaccio...........Alessio De Paolis
Frantz..................Alessio De Paolis
Luther..................George Cehanovsky
Nathanael...............Robert Nagy
Hermann.................Roald Reitan
Spalanzani..............Paul Franke
Schlemil................Clifford Harvuot
Crespel.................Norman Scott
Mother's Voice..........Margaret Roggero

Conductor...............Jean Morel

Director................Cyril Ritchard
Designer................Rolf Gérard

Dispatch and Review of Blaik Kirby in the Toronto Star

'Did Himself Proud'

Canadian Baritone in Debut With Met

Canadian baritone Morley Meredith received one highly favorably review, and one wait-and-see notice, from key critics, as he made his Metropolitan Opera debut last night. He performed the challenging, roles of the four villains in Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann," and became the third Winnipegger and fifth Canadian on the Met's current roster.

The favorable review came from Alan Rich of the New York Times, who said "Mr. Meredith did himself proud. Tall and slender, he was a joy to watch. His voice is not a particularly suave instrument, but he knows exactly what to do with it." Ronald Eyer, in the Herald Tribune, called the debut "tentative." He said Meredith was "basically a fine singer and actor" who was ill-served by the four Offenbach roles and "had little opportunity to expand, vocally."

Rich said Meredith showed no trace of nerves; Eyer, on the contrary, said Meredith was "burdened with nerves." I am inclined to agree with Rich, and to blame the stiff gestures cited by Eyer on the Met's notoriously bad staging. Meredith had no rehearsal with the orchestra, and would have had no stage rehearsal if George London, who is also doing the roles, had not fallen ill on a rehearsal day.

Eyer admitted that he had to leave before the third act, in which Meredith made his most powerful impression by far, as the evil Dr. Miracle. The staging in this included trapdoor elevators on which Meredith sank from sight through the floor and puffs of smoke from the nether regions. Meredith received bravos for his second act aria "Scintile, Diamant." and got an equal share of the applause with Anna Moffo and Nicolai Gedda, world-famous singers who took the other leading roles. Gedda was in his best voice; Miss Moffo was not. For the second time this season she attempted to sing the four heroines. She was much the best as Antonia, the consumptive who sings herself to death in the third act.

Meredith had turned down offers from the Met in previous years, but joined the company when he was given his favorite type of roles: ones which require strong acting. Later in the season he will sing John the Baptist in "Salome:" Scarpia in "Tosca;" and Don Alfonso in "Cosi fan tutte."

Jean Morel conducted, and set dreary tempos which took much of the excitement from the opera. Cyril Ritchard's staging robbed act one of its shock ending and turned it, instead, into comedy. Rolf Gerard's sets were superb, his costumes much less so.



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