[Met Performance] CID:208590
La Traviata {510} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/22/1966.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 22, 1966


LA TRAVIATA {510}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Phyllis Curtin
Alfredo.................Bruno Prevedi
Germont.................Robert Merrill
Flora...................Marcia Baldwin
Gastone.................Charles Anthony
Baron Douphol...........Ron Bottcher
Marquis D'Obigny........Gene Boucher
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis Sgarro
Annina..................Karan Armstrong
Giuseppe................Lou Marcella
Gardener................Peter Sliker
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................Howard Sayette

Conductor...............Georges PrÍtre

Review of Miles Kastendieck in the World Journal Tribune

La Curtin an Apt Violetta at Met

Unexpectedly Phyllis Curtin found herself singing Violetta in place of Virginia Zeani in Verdi's "La Traviata" at the Metropolitan last night. Since she had sung only one performance in the old house five years ago, this unscheduled appearance became almost a second debut, this time one of expedience. It was a trouper's performance with less than 36 hours to prepare; thus it became a feat of considerable consequence.

So intelligent an artist is she that she scored a personal success in spite of the strangeness of the new house, the new production, and the new way or ways of conducting "Traviata" that Georges Pretre persists in trying.

After a taut, nervous first act, Miss Curtin relaxed into the second and fared better thereafter. It took courage to face those two famous arias in Act I and to negotiate the coloratura passages. She sang them brightly, not altogether accurately, but quite effectively, proving herself thoroughly professional in meeting the challenge.

SHOWED CONTROL

Her tendency to spread tones became disturbing after the first act, but the control was there, however variable, as the third act revealed. The voice under fortissimo has real quality, a fact evident in each act. An assured stage presence and natural sense of characterization enabled her to portray a credible Violetta. Since the other principals did not convey that impression of credibility, her contribution to the evening grew more vital as the show progressed.

A considerable amount of explosive sound both vocal and orchestral occurred during the performance. Bruno Prevedi's Alfredo fulfilled the requirements and Robert Merrill's Germont sounded luxurious. Neither paid much attention to the drama, singing to the audience more than to each other as members of a cast. Act II for instance generated stagey stuff.

Some erratic tempos, some too fast, probably did not ingratiate Pretre either with the singers or the audience. This "Traviata" sounded quite objective for a very personal tragedy. It remained for Miss Curtin to provide the human dimension.

In general, "Traviata" still struggles at the Met.



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