[Met Performance] CID:209110
Don Giovanni {272} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/12/1967.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 12, 1967


DON GIOVANNI {272}

Don Giovanni............Cesare Siepi
Donna Anna..............Joan Sutherland
Don Ottavio.............Alfredo Kraus
Donna Elvira............Pilar Lorengar
Leporello...............Ezio Flagello
Zerlina.................Laurel Hurley
Masetto.................William Walker
Commendatore............Bonaldo Giaiotti

Conductor...............Karl Böhm

Review of Speight Jenkins in the Dallas Times Herald

"Don" at Met Is Star-Cast, Hasn't Jelled

NEW YORK--In an amazing display of affection for its subscribers, the Metropolitan Opera presented, as its first two offerings of the new year, well-sung and well-directed performances of "Aida" and "Die Meistersinger." On the third night came the masterful combination of drama and comedy which is Mozart's "Don Giovanni." It was a performance bulging with stars, most of whom were new to their roles at the Met, and, while not the perfect "Giovanni," was intensely enjoyable.

Some years ago Joan Sutherland sang Donna Anna with the Dallas Civic Opera, but this was her first appearance in the role in New York. It was one of the most successful evenings of her New York career and one of the finest Donna Annas ever heard at the Metropolitan.

Her voice began to show its real power and beauty in the "Maschere" trio in the first act, but the second act was hers. She was vocally the solid rock around which the Sextet was built. The "Non mi dir," her major aria, was a delight of lyrical vocalizing.

In the finale, sung before the smoking ruins of the Don's palace, she let out all the stops and sang with that weird combination of dramatic-lyric-coloratura which is hers alone. This was not just a superbly vocalized Donna Anna; it was, within the classical frame, an emotional characterization.

Alfredo Kraus, the young Spanish tenor, sang the best Ottavio heard in the Met since Valleti was young. "II Mio Tesoro" was, as it should be, his high point of the evening. The long run was taken in one breath and every other difficult
moment of the aria (or the role) bespoke technique and lyrical feeling. This handsome, slim Spaniard matched Miss Sutherland note for note in the magnificent finale.

Pilar Lorengar, also a Spaniard, sang much less well as Donna Elvira. Her vibrato, which is naturally heavy, became a tremolo in her entrance aria, "Ah! Chi mi dice mai." Her voice became surer as the evening progressed, but her promise was unfulfilled in "Mi Tradi," which sounded cumbersome.

The other newcomer to the cast was William Walker as Masetto. Mr. Walker was not successful, either vocally or dramatically. Masetto is a peasant but he is neither a clown nor a witless nincompoop. Mr. Walker played him as the latter and few were amused.

Karl Böhm conducted. This great maestro of Wagner and Strauss has just as great a name in Mozart but he was not quite up to his interpretation remembered from 1957. After a fast overture, the first act dragged unmercifully. When the second act began, he conducted at a normal speed and every aria and ensemble was well-shaped.

Not new to the Met nor to the Dallas opera goer is the Don of Cesare Siepi. Tonight every highpoint in the score indicated. firmly that there is no better Don Giovanni anywhere. Also repeating a familiar interpretation was Ezio Flagello as Leporello. Laurel Hurley sang a good, dependable Zerlina though the "Vedrai Carino" did not sound as sweet as it might.

Justino Diaz repeated his sonorous, huge-voiced Commendatore. With Dr. Böhm bringing all of the orchestra to bear on the statue's great entrance chords, Mr. Diaz' "Don Giovanni!" made the rafters ring.

It was, unfortunately, the kind of stellar "Don Giovanni' which the great international houses often put together. The stars meet on stage and try there to fuse together as an ensemble.



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