[Met Performance] CID:200710
Manon {209} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/22/1964.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 22, 1964


MANON {209}

Manon...................Mary Costa
Des Grieux..............Nicolai Gedda
Lescaut.................Gabriel Bacquier
Count des Grieux........Giorgio Tozzi
Guillot.................Paul Franke
Brétigny................William Walker
Poussette...............Joy Clements
Javotte.................Marcia Baldwin
Rosette.................Joann Grillo
Innkeeper...............Robert Patterson
Guard...................Charles Kuestner
Guard...................Carlo Tomanelli
Maid....................Athena Vicos
Sergeant................William Stanz
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................Craig Crosson
Dance...................Edith Jerell
Dance...................Howard Sayette

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

Review of Martin Bernheimer in the New York Post

Costa Strengthens 'Manon' at the Met

Massenet's "Manon" has been a headache for the Metropolitan ever since its new production last season, which was cast unevenly and misconceived in design and direction. Little can be done for the latter troubles, short of discarding the whole mess and trying again.

But the Met is taking pains to improve the musical standard. There was a notable step forward last night, for instance, as Mary Costa sang the title role for the first time in the house.

It would be unrealistic to pretend Miss Costa has absolutely no problems with this crucial assignment. Visually she often suggests a wholesome, corn-fed American girl rather than the fragile Gallic creature of the libretto. Last night she also found a few forte high notes a strain, and she didn't always focus her voice in the middle register as clearly as one might wish.

These proved minor flaws, however, in a performance that was beautifully conceived and sensitively executed for the most part. Unlike her recent predecessors, Miss Costa was able to make poignant Manon's transition from flighty adolescent (Act I) to worldly courtesan (Acts II and III) to tragic heroine (the final scenes). She also disclosed a remarkable affinity for vocal as well as physical acting - which, after all, is what opera is all about.

Other principals in the cast, probably the strongest yet assembled for this revival, were Nicolai Gedda (a splendidly sung awkwardly acted Des Grieux), and Gabriel Bacquier (the suavest of Lescauts). Giorgio Tozzi brought tremendous authority and elegance to his first Des Grieux pere of the season. Thomas Schippers again conducted.



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