[Met Performance] CID:197980
Lucia di Lammermoor {317} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Theater, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/19/1964.

(Debut: Bodo Igesz
Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 19, 1964 Matinee


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {317}
Donizetti-Cammarano

Lucia...................Joan Sutherland
Edgardo.................Barry Morell
Enrico..................Anselmo Colzani
Raimondo................Agostino Ferrin
Normanno................Arthur Graham
Alisa...................Carlotta Ordassy
Arturo..................George Shirley
Dance...................Katharyn Horne
Dance...................Hans Meister

Conductor...............Silvio Varviso

Director................Désiré Defrère
Stage Director..........Bodo Igesz [Debut]
Set designer............Richard Rychtarik
Costume designer........Richard Rychtarik
Costume designer........Ruth Morley
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov

[Morley designed costumes only for the ballet.]

Lucia di Lammermoor received five performances this season.

Review of Michael Steinberg in the Boston Globe

Varviso Conducts Well:

Sutherland Excellent in 'Lucia' Role Here

With "Lucia di Lammermoor" and Joan Sutherland, the Metropolitan Opera brought its Boston visit to an end on Sunday afternoon at the Music Hall. "Lucia" has been chosen to open next season in a new production and the renovation will come not an instant too soon. The poor old thing as it stands now is pretty run down: the Rychtarik designs of 1942 are shabby, and by now everyone has forgotten whatever staging Desire Defrere once devised. The merits of a Met "Lucia" consist of whatever the performers on any particular occasion can contribute.

That, in Sunday's performance, amounted to something spectacular from Miss Sutherland, and something certainly solidly presentable from everyone else. The Scottish setting and the madness-cum-coloratura invite comparison of "Lucia" with Bellini's "I Puritani," which Miss Sutherland sang here with the Boston Opera Group in February.

Donizetti's work is less fine, literally. Full of lovely melody though it is, and sprinkled with details far from routine, "Lucia" is prose by the side of Bellini's delicately perfumed poetry. In "Lucia" with its more down-to-earth atmosphere, her vocalism is extraordinary, the musicianship pure, and beautiful, but the creation has not the magic of her Elvira in "Puritani." And the fault is not with Donizetti's opera: Maria Callas 10 years ago could make that kind of magic in it.

Also, I suspect that Miss Sutherland tends to do her best singing when Richard Bonynge is conducting. Silvio Varviso actually conducted very well, and Miss Sutherland took great pains to show her appreciation of his work. But still, she reverted to old habits which two months ago I hoped she had overcome. Especially she consistently sacrifices diction to vocal production; it seemed almost as though she had but one all-purpose vowel, though it came in various shades, and I found it terribly hard to know what she was singing about.

Withal, Miss Sutherland is a grand phenomenon. Even though her voice had not completely cleared yet, she stopped the show for minutes after "Regnava nel silenzio;" the applause after the Mad Scene just went on and on, suddenly erupting into one of the few wholly spontaneous standing ovations I have ever seen. And I suppose except for Maria Callas still, there is no star in opera today who can command that with the magnificence of Joan Sutherland.

Barry Morell, her Edgardo, is a tenor still early enough in his career to be called promising. His voice, tight and a little forced early in the afternoon, is a fine instrument; except for occasionally exploding off the final notes, he sings lyric melodies simply and well; he is notably better with the set pieces than with what comes in between; his stage deportment is quite tenorial.

To return a moment to Maestro Varviso, while his conducting has neither the sharp edge nor the grace of Bonynge's, he did an extremely good job with "Lucia". It has pace, flexibility, rhythm, color; charm. Varviso is; in the right repertory, obviously a very able man, and it seemed to me that in his "Aida" misfortune earlier in the week - I did not hear "Ariadne" - he was the victim of one of the Met's unhappier casting errors.

And this account of an afternoon. mainly of vocal splendors, should not close without grateful mention of the harpist, whose name I am sorry not to know, for his exquisite playing of the prelude to "."



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