[Met Performance] CID:212000
La Traviata {527} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/18/1967.

(Opening Night {83}
Rudolf Bing, General Manager
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
September 18, 1967
Opening Night {83}

Rudolf Bing, General Manager


LA TRAVIATA
{527}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Montserrat Caballé
Alfredo.................Richard Tucker
Germont.................Cornell MacNeil
Flora...................Nancy Williams
Gastone.................Charles Anthony
Baron Douphol...........Robert Goodloe
Marquis D'Obigny........Gene Boucher
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis Sgarro
Annina..................Loretta Di Franco
Giuseppe................Lou Marcella
Gardener................Peter Sliker
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................Howard Sayette

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

Production..............Alfred Lunt
Stage Director..........Bodo Igesz
Designer................Cecil Beaton
Choreographer...........John Butler

La Traviata received sixteen performances this season.


Review of Winthrop Sargeant in The New Yorker:
The Metropolitan Opera House opened its season Monday night of last week before an audience that was rather light on what is called aristocracy, consisting, as it did, largely of successful businessmen and their wives. The rhinestone horseshoe was no less brilliant though, and the women were no less pretty or fashionably dressed.

The opera was "La Traviata" and the production was not new, Alfred Lunt directed it, and the scenery was the Cecil Beaton setting, with the barnyard second act, and heavy everywhere with fake drapery. The principal singers were Montserrat Caballé, Richard Tucker and Cornell MacNeil - the last-named, of course, in the part of the elder Germont - and the conductor was Fausto Cleva. There was a good deal of flatting in the ensembles, and Mr. MacNeil did not appear to be in good voice. Mr. Tucker, with a handsome new reddish wig, sang the role of Alfredo with the art of a veteran, and though his voice is no longer in the prime of its youth, he managed to give the best performance of the evening.

How shall I describe the performance of Miss Caballé? Several years ago, when she made her debut with the American Opera Society as Lucrezia Borgia, she knitted her brows - a change of expression that gave her attractive face a slightly sinister look. Within the frame of the American Opera Society's concert performances, in which everyone is dressed in evening clothes and hardly anybody moves a muscle, to knot the brows is to act, and most of her audience, including me, thought they were in the presence of a formidable operatic tragedienne. Subsequent performances by Miss Caballé, however, have shown that brow-knitting is the beginning and end of her gamut of dramatic gesture. The other night, she knitted and unknitted her brows again. Otherwise, all that one can say of her visual projection is that she proved to be one of the largest sopranos ever to undertake the role of Violetta.

Vocally, there was more of interest. Miss Caballé is a pure lyric soprano, with unforgettable pianissimos. She sang the last three acts in a memorable manner. But she is not a natural Violetta, and her first act proved it. Here she had to force in order to negotiate the florid passages, and the result was a coarsening of tone and good deal of breathiness. Her voice is a curious one. It can cajole with the most limpid, velvety tone, but it cannot be pushed into a real fortissimo without damage to its quality.



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