[Met Performance] CID:196160
Don Carlo {58} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/31/1963.

(Debuts: Junetta Jones, Sally Brayley

Metropolitan Opera House
October 31, 1963
In Italian

Giuseppe Verdi--François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle

Don Carlo...............Richard Tucker
Elizabeth of Valois.....Raina Kabaivanska
Rodrigo.................Robert Merrill
Princess Eboli..........Rita Gorr
Philip II...............Jerome Hines
Grand Inquisitor........Paul Schöffler
Celestial Voice.........Junetta Jones [Debut]
Friar...................Justino Díaz
Tebaldo.................Marcia Baldwin
Count of Lerma..........Gabor Carelli
Countess of Aremberg....Sally Brayley [Debut]
Herald..................Robert Nagy

Conductor...............Georg Solti

Director................Margaret Webster
Designer................Rolf Gérard

Translation by Lauzières, Zanardini

Don Carlo received seven performances this season.

Review of Harold C. Schonberg in The New York Times

Opera: 'Don Carlo' Returns to Met

Tucker Sings Lead in Stylish Production

Verdi's "Don Carlo," absent since the 1960-61 season, returned to the Metropolitan Opera last night. This is the great production that launched Rudolf Bing's tenure at the house, and it remains one of the finest things of the last 13 years - sumptuous, imaginative, stylish, in mood with the libretto and music. "Don Carlo" is a remarkable opera, and the more one hears it the more prophetic it sounds. Seldom did Verdi compose anything more of an emotional unity, and one has to wait until "Otello" for music to equal the pulverizing intensity of the Inquisitor's scene. But there are things almost as good. The Elizabeth-Carlo duet in Act I is an unsurpassable lyric inspiration; the Auto-da-fe scene has that menacing march of the priests with its strange enharmonic notes. And the choral writing is richer than anything Verdi had attempted until then,
and was not to match until "Aida."

Perhaps the most striking thing about "Don Carlo" is its orchestration. If it sounds like late Verdi, there is good reason. Verdi wrote the opera in 1867 and reworked it thoroughly in 1883. In no Verdi opera until "Otello" does the orchestra sound so vital, and in no other opera has it such a pertinent commentary on the stage action. A case in point is the moment in Act I when Philip raises his arms to strike Rodrigo. The brass instruments let loose with a horrifying snarl: there is nothing like it in Verdi until the raucous, Bronx-cheer trill in the "Honor" monologue of Falstaff.

When "Aida" led off the Metropolitan season a few weeks ago, it was conducted by Georg Solti. Mr. Solti last night took on "Don Carlo" for the first time at the Metropolitan. Many in the audience, remembering his spirited and original work on [first] night, were curious about what his ideas on "Don Carlo" were going to be. All questions were soon answered. Mr. Solti exerted his will upon the performance almost immediately. He is a conductor with imagination, and he manages to project a direct musical experience. Even when he occasionally misjudged some of his fortissimo attacks, drowning out the singers, no harm was done because the musical intent was always clear. There was nothing routine about his interpretation. Mr. Solti added his own touches - a well-calibrated ritard here, a sharp dynamic thrust there. Suddenly the orchestra sounded alive, playing with more discipline, a more resonant sound and a greater degree of rhythmic alertness than it does under most conductors.

Mr. Solti had a good cast to work with. It might be pointed out as a curiosity that in this great Italian opera, there was not an Italian in the cast (the Italian-sounding Gabor Carelli is Hungarian). Several were appearing in "Don Carlo" for the first time notably, Raina Kabaivanska as Elizabeth of Valois and Rita Gorr as Eboli. In lesser roles, also for the first time, were Justino Diaz as a friar, Marcia Baldwin as Theobald and Junetta Jones, making her debut as the celestial voice. The veterans were Jerome Hines as Philip, Richard Tucker in the title role, Robert Merrill as Rodrigo and Paul Schoeffler as the Grand Inquisitor.

The singing of Mr. Tucker was a pleasant surprise. He did not belt his way through the opera. And while he had plenty of power when he needed it, he sang on the whole with a good deal of restraint. Of the newcomers, Miss Kabaivanska looked beautiful and sang with a warm voice of lovely timbre. Miss Gorr was a smooth and intelligent singer as Eboli, though some .of the role gives her a little trouble. Her big voice is not very flexible; she has to get set, vocally speaking. And in the first-act serenade she could not handle the vocalise elements as easily as she would have liked to. This was the only place where her singing was a little off. Little need be said about the fine contributions of Messrs. Hines, Merrill and Schoeffler. Each was in good voice, and each provided a superb characterization. Verdi's wonderful opera was well taken care of last night, as presumably it will be in future performances - which means that it should not be missed.

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