[Met Performance] CID:205640
Falstaff {94} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/5/1966.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 5, 1966


FALSTAFF {94}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Sir John Falstaff.......Tito Gobbi
Alice Ford..............Pilar Lorengar
Ford....................Frank Guarrera
Dame Quickly............Lili Chookasian
Nannetta................Judith Raskin
Fenton..................Luigi Alva
Meg Page................Mildred Miller
Dr. Cajus...............Mariano Caruso
Bardolfo................Andrea Velis
Pistola.................Norman Scott
Mistress of the Inn.....Rae Calitri
Innkeeper...............Thomas Powell

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

Review of Irving Kolodin in the March 19, 1966 issue of the Saturday Review

Tito Gobbi's long-awaited first Falstaff in Verdi's comic masterpiece suggested, on its appearance recently at the Metropolitan, that it was perhaps too long awaited. Not only has time worked against the quality as well as the variety of the vocal sound this fine artist has to dispose in such an evening-long role, but it also has worked against his kind of classical Italian approach - grotesque, overstuffed, essentially buffo - to the character of Sir John. From the first, Gobbi's emphasis was on the bulk rather than the substance of the man beneath the flesh, and as time progressed he tended to make him pathetic rather than merely foolish. There were any number of small touches of artistic imagination (especially where the text was concerned) but they all dealt with Falstaff, cavaliere rather than Knight.

What it might have been under the shaping hand of Franco Zeffirelli one can only speculate (a mismatch, probably); but the sad fact is this production retains very little of that imaginative stage director's influence and, as executed by Joseph Rosenstock, even less of Leonard Bernstein's musical leadership. Lili Chookasian, as Mrs. Quickly, dwelt on every note as though she were singing Azucena, Pilar Lorengar spread sound far from an even line as Alicia, and Mildred Miller's Meg was also without subtlety. But with the kind of figure Gobbi presented, belly laughs were eminently in order. (Frank Guarerra was the Ford rather than Thomas Stewart.)



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