[Met Performance] CID:210350
La Gioconda {212} Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee: 05/8/1967.

(Review)


Memphis, Tennessee
May 8, 1967


LA GIOCONDA {212}

La Gioconda.............Renata Tebaldi
Enzo....................Franco Corelli
Laura...................Rosalind Elias
Barnaba.................Cornell MacNeil
Alvise..................Bonaldo Giaiotti
La Cieca................Belén Amparan
Zuŕne...................Russell Christopher
Isčpo...................Robert Schmorr
Monk....................Louis Sgarro
Steersman...............Nicola Barbusci
Singer..................Paul De Paola
Singer..................William Mellow
Dance...................Tania Karina
Dance...................Donald Mahler

Conductor...............Fausto Cleva

Review of Louis Nicholas in the Nashville, Tennessee Tennessean

Metropolitan Opera Program Praised

"La Gioconda" is not an opera that will stand up with any reasonably good casting like "La Traviata." "La Boheme," or "Cavalleria Rusticana." It requires six first-rate voices, and at least a modicum of acting ability from all. The Met's new production with richly handsome sets and costumes by Beni Montressor, the superb playing of the Met Opera orchestra under veteran Fausto Cleva, and the beautifully costumed and graceful disporting ballet in the famed "Dance of the Hours" were tremendous factors in the huge success of the presentation Monday evening.

But of course a performance in the final analysis, stands or falls on the showing of its principals. Renata Tebaldi, as Gioconda, the Venetian ballad singer, gave a performance of such power and vividness as would hardly have been imagined from her a decade ago.

Her devotion to her old, blind mother (La Cieca-Belen Amparan) leads her to save her rival Laura Adorno (Rosalind Elias) from poisoning her husband, Alvise Adorno, a Venetian nobleman (Bonaldo Giaiotti) destined for her, in order to unite Laura with Enzo Grimaldo, Prince of Santafiore (Franco Corelli), with whom Gioconda herself is passionately in love, and whose aversion to the vengeful Barnaba, spy of the Inquisition (Cornell MacNeil), leads her to commit suicide rather than submit to him.

She is as beautiful and appealing as ever; her singing has gained enormously in dramatic thrust, and she has developed a chest register of such power that she is able to sing the wide-ranging and heavily dramatic role with great effect.

Corelli is surely the handsomest tenor of any note today, and he can make his clarion high tones tell unfailingly. After some hammy acting and tasteless singing, he can turn right around and do something so beautiful and so amazing as to send everyone into ecstasies. He had the audience with him every moment.

And what a glorious voice Cornell MacNeil has! He matched Corelli note-for-note in their great duet, and he's no mean actor either. Elias was beautiful of voice and appearance, and had great appeal, and Giaiotti and Amparan were fine vocalists and impressive in action.



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