[Met Performance] CID:196640
Il Trovatore {335} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/19/1963.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 19, 1963


IL TROVATORE {335}
Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Manrico.................Richard Tucker
Leonora.................Leontyne Price
Count Di Luna...........Mario Sereni
Azucena.................Irene Dalis
Ferrando................Anton Diakov
Ines....................Janis Martin
Ruiz....................Robert Nagy
Messenger...............Hal Roberts
Gypsy...................Carlo Tomanelli

Conductor...............Thomas Schippers

Review of Irving Kolodin in the December 28, 1963 issue of the Saturday Review

Tucker's Manrico

By contrast, (Referring to Sutherland's first Violeta), the first Manrico of Richard Tucker earlier in the week was a triumph of purposeful artistry over deficiencies of physical type and, even, vocal disposition. This is a role that many gifted tenors of the past have avoided or sung reluctantly - Caruso among them - but Tucker, from the eminence of artistic maturity, has surveyed the problem and plotted a course that brings him out on high ground last occupied by Jussi Bjoerling.

Largely speaking, "Trovatore" presents only one stretch of bravura singing by the tenor: "Di quella pira." In the acts before, Tucker fashioned one spiraling legato phrase after another, with abundant breath and an evenness of sound not often heard in this music. The climax in this respect was, as it should be, "Ah si ben mio," the cavatina preceding the third act's blazing finish. When he had demonstrated both the attack and the power to drive home the clinching top tone of "Di quella pira" in the chosen key (B, rather than C), the audience had the unusual experience of hearing both extremes of the role artistically accounted for.

A good deal of the pleasure provided by the balanced cast derived from the well-shaped playing of the score under the leadership of Thomas Schippers. In succession to his " Ernani" of last year, this showed him to be rapidly developing command of the low as well as the high points of early-middle Verdi. By denying the easy temptation to instant excitement and letting tension accumulate, Schippers gave his singers the opportunity they deserved to build their own characterizations accordingly. A particular apt instance was his restrained treatment of the ensemble halfway through the second scene of Act II. Everyone was actually singing at the same time, and not loud either. In consequence, the impact of the act's finale was substantially greater.

As Azucena, Irene Dalis is in vocal terrain very well suited to her, and she has the dramatic demands of the part firmly in hand. Leontyne Price began her Leonora somewhat thickly, but gradually asserted control of a beautifully slender, silvery sound in the wedding scene. Robert Merrill made di Luna a Count of much account.



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