[Met Performance] CID:214250
Luisa Miller {17} War Memorial Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/22/1968.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 22, 1968


LUISA MILLER {17}
Giuseppe Verdi--Salvadore 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...............Fausto Cleva

Review of McLaren Harris in the Boston Herald Traveler

Met Opens with 'Luisa Miller'

If "Luisa Miller" had been composed by anyone but Verdi it would probably be considered one of the masterpieces of 19th-century Italian opera, but as things are it is inclined to pale beside Verdi's better-known works from "Rigoletto" on. Both the good and bad attributes were revealed by the [first night] production of the Metropolitan Opera last night at the War Memorial Auditorium.

"Luisa Miller" is an adaptation of Friedrich Schiller's "Kabale und Liebe" ("Love and Intrigue") which, in short, tells of a girl whose father is imprisoned by a Count in a plot to discourage the relationship between the girl and his son. For her father's release, Luisa is forced to write a letter to Rodolfo, the son, disavowing her love for him; believing the letter, Rodolfo contrives death by poison for himself and Luisa, then expires with her after running his sword through Wurm, his rival and informer.

Tale of Woe

Salvatore Cammarano's adaptation loses much of the original Schiller flavor, notably the strong political undertones, and what emerges is a rather pathetic and melodrama tale of woe. Yet more are spots of inspiration in the score - the overture (one of Verdi's few), strong for its genre; the opera's one enduring aria, Rodolfo's "Quando le sere al placido" in Act II; and most of a sublime Act Ill, containing a tender duet between father and daughter, the confrontation between Rodolfo and Luisa and the trio of the father and the dying lovers.

Vocal honors for pure beauty and role-realization go to Sherrill Milnes as Miller, though his part had less to offer than the real principals'; he had strength and compassion, both evoked by an opulent baritone which kept its timbres at all volumes. Richard Tucker's Rodolfo was an equally-strong more abandoned figure vocally, wringing the emotion from the upper register of his arias, taking a bow with humble dignity.

Montserrat Caballe sang the title role with increasing strength and conviction. She began admittedly rather weakly - by choice - and what she gamed in delicacy she lost in character; but her Act III was done in full-voice eloquence, her sweet-yet-mellow soprano combining beautifully with Milnes' baritone in the duet and sustained evenly to the finish.



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