[Met Performance] CID:216000
Adriana Lecouvreur {14} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/16/1968.

(Opening Night {84}
Rudolf Bing, General Manager
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
September 16, 1968
Opening Night {84}

Rudolf Bing, General Manager


ADRIANA LECOUVREUR {14}
Cilèa-Colautti

Adriana Lecouvreur......Renata Tebaldi
Maurizio................Franco Corelli
Princess di Bouillon....Irene Dalis
Michonnet...............Anselmo Colzani
Bouillon................Morley Meredith
Abbé....................Paul Franke
Jouvenot................Colette Boky
Dangeville..............Nedda Casei
Duclos..................Skiles Fairlie
Poisson.................Robert Schmorr
Quinault................Paul Plishka
Major-domo..............Edward Ghazal
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Tania Karina
Dance...................Carolyn Martin
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................William Breedlove

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

Production..............Nathaniel Merrill
Set designer............Camillo Parravicini
Set designer............Carlo Maria Cristini
Costume designer........Casa d'Arte Firenze di Ruggero Peruzzi
Choreographer...........Alicia Markova

Adriana Lecouvreur received nineteen performances this season.

[The production was designed by Carlo Maria Cristini after sketches by Camillo Parravicini.]

Review of Miles Kastendieck in the Post

'Lecouvreur' Opens Met's 84th Season

Whatever possessed Rudolf Bing to open the Metropolitan Opera's 84th season with Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvreur," he could smile cynically last night and point to a packed house with a box office record of $126,000. He may have done a disservice in reviving the work five years ago even though Renata Tebaldi was fond of it, but he underscored that fact by reverting to an outworn tradition when not the opera but the star of the performance and the opening night audience took the spotlight. Not that "Adriana" is that bad an opera. It simply is not that good, as its meager history at the Met reveals (two performances until the revival of 1963). Had not the present production been so lavish, the version so lavish, the version so complete, and Miss Tebaldi fascinated with a role for which she is type-cast, interest in it would have evaporated because none of the music is memorable. Indeed, it is thin, pretty, and cloying. Whether as a period piece it is worth reviving even begs the question, for the trappings of opera were responsible for the picturesque effectiveness of last night's performance. A pleasantly quaint atmosphere pervaded the opera house, possibly making it more of a museum than necessary. Aside from the pre-tonal aspect, attention centered on the singers in another outmoded sense; namely who appeared in the leading roles and how their voices sounded rather than what kind of theater and ensemble they created.

It was, then, a prima donna's evening. Yet, for a role she loves so much, hers was not an outstanding performance either vocally or dramatically. Miss Tebaldi had her moments to be sure, especially in spinning pianissimos and letting a beautiful voice caress certain phrases. She sounded in better voice than last season, but the wavering in pitch and the white fortissimos persist. She gained stature act by act, but the artificiality of her stage movement detracted from a convincing portrayal of an essentially dramatic role. In the Death Scene she came nearest to acting naturally.
In contrast, Irene Dalis gave such a genuine portrayal of the Princess that she imparted meaning to the story. She was in excellent voice and dominated her scenes impressively. The honors for the most complete characterization belonged to Anselmo Colzani whose warm baritone and dramatic projection made his Michonnet an appealing figure.

Franco Corelli sang the glamour role of Maurizio with his customary brilliance. Inevitably the other star of the performance, he awakened the thought that he is singing better than ever. Gifted with an exceptional tenor, he has only to acquire still more finesse to be completely worthy of it. He moves more easily and takes fewer poses though it remains hard to believe that he can get inside a role. Even in an opera like this, such an accomplishment would be welcome. Morley Meredith as the Prince and Paul Franke as the Abbe sustained the general level of vocal quality, while the remainder of the cast showed the kind of depth that makes Mat casts substantial. Fausto Cleva conducted dependably, pacing the work somewhat freely when the sweetness of the music offered some indulgence. Cristini's sets and Nathaniel Merrill's staging contributed much to this performance. The Markova ballet fitted tastefully and stylistically into its framework. The conventional stage lighting was hardly worthy of the new Met.

In sum the opening had its glamorous moments but the innocuous music built in limitations to full enjoyment of the occasion. And when an opera has little to endear it to an audience, a lack of enthusiasm results. For one reason or another the Met's third opening at Lincoln Center, like the other two, has left considerable to be desired.



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