[Met Performance] CID:209360
Aida {740} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/6/1967.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 6, 1967


AIDA {740}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Leontyne Price
Radamès.................Carlo Bergonzi
Amneris.................Grace Bumbry
Amonasro................Robert Merrill
Ramfis..................Bonaldo Giaiotti
King....................Raymond Michalski
Messenger...............Paul Franke
Priestess...............Lilian Sukis
Dance...................Nira Paaz
Dance...................Rhodie Jorgenson
Dance...................Naomi Marritt
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Howard Sayette
Dance...................Harry Jones
Dance...................Jan Mickens

Conductor...............Thomas Schippers

Review of Alan Rich in the World Journal Tribune

NEW "AIDA" STAR

The finest Amneris in decades turned last night's "Aida" at the Metropolitan into a dramatic experience unmatched in this reporter's memory. Grace Bumbry is the name of the lady who turned the trick, and you are hereby advised to beg, borrow or steal your way into the house for any of her future performances.

Miss Bumbry sang the role with an imperious, scorching intensity that was the product of how she sounded and how she looked. She sounded for once like a real contralto, not just a soprano with some good low tones. The voice had a fullness to it all the way to the bottom, and every phrase was produced with such naturalness and ease that one soon forgot everything but the character itself. In doing so, one learned all kinds of new things about Verdi's magnificent score.

Visually, Miss Bumbry was little less than magnificent. She stalked the hapless Aida like the personification of doom, clawed her way up and down the staircase in the Trial Scene like an unleashed harpy. Even her brief appearance at the final curtain was a Presence. It was simply a wonderful, noble recreation that gave immense stature to the opera.

OTHERS EXCELLENT

It was a pretty magnificent evening all around, in fact. Leontyne Price, Carlo Bergonzi and Robert Merrill returned to their roles for the first time this season, mostly in excellent form. Miss Price does worry me a little, however. She is using the chest tone much too much these days, and last night it pushed her off pitch in the "Ritonra Vincitor" and made some other moments extremely choppy and fussy. In between there were lovely things, of course, and her work in the Tomb Scene was that of the ravishing Price of former times.

Bergonzi, stolid of stature and reedy of voice, is still the most musical Radames the company can produce these days, and he did a fine job. Just as singing (which is about all he ever affords on stage) his beautifully shaded B flat at the end of "Celeste Aida" was almost worth the trip by itself. Merrill's Amonasro was, as always, solid and most communicative, without any special degree of imagination.

Thomas Schippers conducted strongly, and some fine work was turned in in smaller roles by Bonaldo Giaiotti and Raymond Michalski. The O'Hearn sets are still one the of the company's treasures, and the performers this time around lent them their own strong illumination.



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