[Met Performance] CID:213630
La Gioconda {228} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/24/1968.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 24, 1968


LA GIOCONDA {228}

La Gioconda.............Renata Tebaldi
Enzo....................Carlo Bergonzi
Laura...................Fiorenza Cossotto
Barnaba.................Cornell MacNeil
Alvise..................Bonaldo Giaiotti
La Cieca................Mignon Dunn
Zune...................Russell Christopher
Ispo...................Robert Schmorr
Monk....................Paul Plishka
Steersman...............Nicola Barbusci
Singer..................Paul De Paola
Singer..................William Mellow
Dance...................Violette Verdy
Dance...................Conrad Ludlow

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

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Saturday Review

Cossotto

There was interest, also, in the opportunity to hear Fiorenza Cossotto in an alternate role to the Amneris in "Aida" with which she had made her admired debut some days before. This was Laura in Ponchielli's "La Gioconda," an assignment which turned out to be as much to her advantage as she was to its. There was, to begin with, the plus factor of appearance: She presented a Laura more youthful and suggestive of romantic impulses than is sometimes - nay, frequently - the case. In addition, she possesses the kind of richness in the lower middle which this part demands, and blended it beautifully with Carlo Bergonzi's tenor sound in the second-act duet. Taken together, it was a kind of oboe-viola duet not too often encountered in the operatic milieu.

The casting also provided Mignon Dunn as a lovely voice for La Cieca, Cornell MacNeil as a well sounding but excessively villainous Barnaba, and Bonaldo Giaiotti as the kind of Alvise who arouses aural sympathy. The unhappy aspect of this evening was Renata Tebaldi's somewhat tortuous effort to get her tones where she wanted to put them for the music of "La Gioconda." Sometimes they made it - as in the B flat of Act I, pushed into place almost at the last moment - and sometimes they didn't. She commands a grandeur of style that is still very much her own, but the sound becomes more attenuated, less vibrant year by year. The amended version of Beni Montresor's staging works better than it did originally - it could hardly work worse - but the compulsion to do too much in too little space persists. As for the durability of the arrangement - when MacNeil paddled away from the island where Laura and Enzo had their rendezvous and pulled over the piling to which his gondola was moored, it was hard to determine whether this was caused by his strength or its weakness. Fausto Cleva conducted with his singular command of this work's style, and the ballet led by Violette Verdy performed capably, Of note was the appearance of Rudolf Bing before the beginning of "La Gioconda" to commend the orchestra for resuming a day's work which began at 1 p.m. with the broadcast of Die Walkre. He did not, however, extend similar consideration to any critics who may have served the same double duty.



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