[Met Performance] CID:213440
New production
Luisa Miller {7} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/8/1968.


Metropolitan Opera House
February 8, 1968
Benefit sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild
for the production funds
New production

Giuseppe Verdi--Salvatore Cammarano

Luisa...................Montserrat Caballé
Rodolfo.................Richard Tucker
Miller..................Sherrill Milnes
Count Walter............Giorgio Tozzi
Wurm....................Ezio Flagello
Federica................Louise Pearl
Laura...................Nancy Williams
Peasant.................Lou Marcella

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

Director................Nathaniel Merrill
Designer................Attilio Colonnello
Lighting designer.......Jean Rosenthal
Choreographer...........Thomas Andrew

Production a gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Luisa Miller received seventeen performances this season.

Review of Winthrop Sargeant in The New Yorker:

The opera had not been performed here in approximately a generation, and I, for one, was hearing it for the first time. It predates Verdi's first great period - that of "Il Trovatore," "La Traviata," and "Rigoletto" - but not by much, and it contains quite a bit of robust masculinity and creative power that flowered in those works. Its story, to be sure, is on the naïve side, as viewed by today's audiences - very "operatic" in the disparaging sense, which is to say full of rather unlikely villainy, of passions, violence, and death - yet it hangs together well....

In order to put this antique plot into some sort of frame, the stage designer, Attilio Colonnello, placed three tiers of elegant nineteenth-century theatre boxes on each side of the stage and peopled them with various aristocratic and soldierly types, who peered at the action, applauded the singing, and fanned themselves in between. This was a reasonably cute idea and, as a friend of mine remarked, improved the architecture of the Metropolitan's proscenium no end. Some seem to have found it distracting; I did not. I did, however, find Mr. Colonnello's set and costumes for the first scene outrageously lavish. As we know from his "Lucia" of a couple of years ago, Mr. Colonnello is a great man with vegetation, and here we had haystacks, garlands, and grapes, plus a courtyard that made Luisa's father seem to be a billionaire, while the Count's palace, in the second scene, turned out to be a tomblike place with an obviously leaky roof. I have no idea how many people go to the opera primarily to look at the scenery and costumes - perhaps quite a number, though the voice fans and the music buffs don't care much one way or the other. At any rate, for those who cared, a good deal of Mr. Colonnello's staging was handsome enough.

The general quality of the singing was high, and it proceeded at a fast pace under the whiplash conducting of Thomas Schippers. Montserrat Caballé, costumed with such extraordinary skill that she looked almost slim, sang beautifully as Luisa - most beautifully when she was sending forth her celebrated high pianissimos. Sherrill Milnes was magnificent as her father. I should like to hear Mr. Milnes as Rigoletto. He is certainly one of the most cultivated and eloquent baritones now before the public. Giorgio Tozzi was a good Count, though his voice seemed strained now and then. Louise Pearl, a young mezzo heard most recently in "La Forza del Destino," made a favorable impression as the Duchess Federica. Ezio Flagello was all that one could ask for as the villainous Wurm, and Nancy Williams did quite acceptably in the minor role of Laura. But the surprise of the evening was the singing of veteran Richard Tucker, who, though he now is in his fifties, brought all the fire of youth, as well as some memorable singing, to the role of Rodolfo. Mr. Tucker retains the most refined style of any of the Metropolitan's Italian-type dramatic tenors. What is more remarkable, he retains a voice of power and velvet.

Photograph of Richard Tucker as Rodolfo and Montserrat Caballé in the title role of Luisa Miller by Louis Mélançon/Metropolitan Opera.

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