[Met Performance] CID:205340
Un Ballo in Maschera {92} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/7/1966.

(Debut: Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 7, 1966


UN BALLO IN MASCHERA {92}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Somma

Amelia..................Leontyne Price
Riccardo................Carlo Bergonzi
Renato..................Robert Merrill
Ulrica..................Mignon Dunn
Oscar...................Roberta Peters
Samuel..................John Macurdy
Tom.....................Louis Sgarro
Silvano.................Robert Goodloe
Judge...................Andrea Velis
Servant.................Robert Schmorr
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................Anthony Santiago

Conductor...............Francesco Molinari-Pradelli [Debut]

Production..............GŁnther Rennert
Staged by...............Nathaniel Merrill
Designer................Ita Maximowna
Choreographer...........Thomas Andrew

Un Ballo in Maschera received six performances this season.

Review of Miles Kastendieck in the Journal-American

'MASKED BALL' AT THE METROPOLITAN

Leontyne Price in Great Voice

Verdi's "Masked Ball" sounded better than it did three seasons ago on its return to the Metropolitan last night. The reasons were many but two in particular: Leontyne Price as Amelia and Francesco Molinari-Pradelli as the conductor.

It was a first time for both of them. Miss Price returned to the company in her new role: Mr. Molinari-Pradelli made his debut.

What with some glorious singing by the most famous of Negro sopranos and some truly professional Italianate musical direction by a conductor who should have come much sooner to the Met, a performance which bogged down at the start came quite alive.

All the velvet in Miss Price's voice served her well last night. Her top register sounded clearer and her mezzo range glowed.

She negotiated the arduous pages of the [beginning] of the second act skillfully and will doubtless bring more of a thrill in subsequent performances.

As soon as she started her duet with Carlo Bergonzi, she sang with more assurance. From then on a listener could only be ecstatic, for here is a great soprano.

Mr. Molinari-Pradelli warmed up to Verdi gradually. The first scene sounded tenuous, but then none of the cast sang too satisfactorily in it.

In the second he missed projecting the mood of the [first] pages, but gradually the musical and dramatic accents coincided.

One began to appreciate the leadership emanating from the pit. The Met now
has another authoritative conductor.

With Mr. Bergonzi to sing Riccardo so stylishly and Robert Merrill to glorify a great baritone voice so sonorously as Renato, the male members of this eternal triangle made handsome contributions vocally. They did little acting.

Mr. Bergonzi became too involved in moving his arms about, while Mr. Merrill
stood his ground somewhat defiantly.

As the apex of their interest, Miss Price portrayed Amelia understandingly. She is already inside the role and aware of Amelia's plight.

As Oscar Roberta Peters showed herself a good actress, too, making the most of a most peculiar role. Vocally she had her uncertain spots though she could top the others when the score demanded.

Mignon Dunn had her moment last night. She has gained stature as Ulrica and in full voice came through splendidly. The audience recognized her achievement outspokenly.

In the role of conspirators John Macurdy and Louis Sgarro contributed solid support.

"The Masked Ball" can be more dramatically acted; but as the performance progressed, it attained vocal distinction last night. Now that it is again in the repertory, it should be one of the major attractions for the remainder of the season.



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