[Met Performance] CID:201080
Les Contes d'Hoffmann {108} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/27/1965.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 27, 1965


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN {108}
Jacques Offenbach-Jules Barbier


Hoffmann................Giuseppe Di Stefano [Last performance]
Olympia.................Laurel Hurley
Giulietta...............Nell Rankin
Antonia.................Teresa Stratas
Stella..................Sally Brayley
Lindorf.................Morley Meredith
Coppélius...............Morley Meredith
Dappertutto.............Morley Meredith
Dr. Miracle.............Morley Meredith
Nicklausse..............Janis Martin
Andrès..................Andrea Velis
Cochenille..............Andrea Velis
Pitichinaccio...........Andrea Velis
Frantz..................Andrea Velis
Luther..................Louis Sgarro
Nathanael...............Arthur Graham
Hermann.................Russell Christopher
Spalanzani..............Paul Franke
Schlemil................Clifford Harvuot
Crespel.................John Macurdy
Mother's Voice..........Gladys Kriese

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

Production..............Cyril Ritchard
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Cyril Ritchard


Review of Raymond Ericson in The New York Times

DI STEFANO SINGS HOFFMANN AT MET

Part Doesn't Suit Singer Back From Long Absence

Giuseppe Di Stefano, the Italian tenor, came back to the Metropolitan Opera last night after an absence of eight seasons. He chose to appear as Hoffmann in Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann," a role that he had not previously sung. This may have reflected advantageously on the singer's sense of enterprise, but it turned out to be a mistake.

Hoffmann is a deceptively unrewarding part, long, arduous and without much chance to shine vocally. Mr. Di Stefano's voice rang out with some of its remembered golden quality in the first act, but by the second it already was sounding constricted and unmalleable. Without the musical discipline to sing with rhythmic accuracy, and with the most casual behavior taking the place of acting, this performance had little to recommend it. (The most striking thing about it was the tenor's marching stage front center at his entrance to take a bow.)

Teresa Stratas took the role of Antonia for the first time at the Metropolitan and, to judge by her singing of the initial third-act aria, was as admirable as she has been in other operatic parts. She looked young and fragile and sang exquisitely. Unfortunately, the soprano has had to cancel several performances this season because of illness. She is taking a month off to recuperate, so that this was her last appearance at the Metropolitan for some time.

Nell Rankin looked voluptuous as Giulietta and sang well when the music gave her a chance. She, too, was appearing in her role for the first time here.

Morley Meredith returned to the Lindorf-Coppelius-Dappertutto-Dr. Miracle set of characterizations, acting with dignified villainy and singing sonorously except in the Diamond aria, which lay too high for him. Laurel Hurley was the Olympia and Janis Martin the Nicklausse in this fourth performance of the work. Silvio Varviso conducted.



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