[Met Performance] CID:200290
Falstaff {83} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/11/1964.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 11, 1964


FALSTAFF {83}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Sir John Falstaff.......Geraint Evans
Alice Ford..............Gabriella Tucci
Ford....................Mario Sereni
Dame Quickly............Regina Resnik
Nannetta................Judith Raskin
Fenton..................Luigi Alva
Meg Page................Mildred Miller
Dr. Cajus...............Mariano Caruso
Bardolfo................Andrea Velis
Pistola.................Norman Scott

Conductor...............Joseph Rosenstock

Review of William Bender in the Herald Tribune

Evans' Falstaff: Add One for Us

Geraint Evans, the wondrous Welsh baritone, returned last night to the Metropolitan Opera to give another overwhelming interpretation of Sir John Falstaff in the great opera Verdi and Boito adapted - with operatic alchemy, it still seems - from a Shakespearean character.

It was wonderful to have Evans back - he made his Met debut last year in the same role - even if it was only by the merest vagary of the operatic business. By permission of the San Francisco Opera, Evans was brought in to substitute for Anselmo Colzani who in turn was substituting in another role for an ill singer at the Philadelphia Lyric Opera. Evans had not been due to appear until January, and then for only one or two performances of "Falstaff," plus two as Mozart's Figaro. So, add one for us.

That are many things that go into Evans' depiction of the round knight who sits at a square table, but dominating them all are the voice and the acting. Evans' baritone is hard to characterize from one role because he colors so vividly and so richly with it. One thing for sure. It falls graciously on the ear at all times. And another. It is always squarely on pitch, and it blends music and words as though in the act of creation itself.

As for the acting? Well, take that marvelous laugh that rocks the whole body, but that always centers irresistibly right between that wavy gray mustache and that wavy gray beard and those two thunderheads of gray hair at either side of the head. Then there are the fingers - not just the hands - that twirl the mustache, or point in any one of a hundred different directions in the air, or slyly stroke the huge belly in pleasant anticipation of L'Amour. The fingers - Evans makes you conscious of each one. There is the reeling walk of the fat man as he stalks Bardolfo and Pistola in the "Honor Monologue." But above all there is a consistency of character in which Sir John is lustful, bullying, thirsty, cowardly, and humiliated - but in which that distinctive touch of nobility, however shopworn it may be, is never sacrificed for a moment's clowning and an easy laugh.



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