[Met Performance] CID:223000
Ernani {44} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/14/1970.

(Opening Night {86}
Rudolf Bing, General Manager

Debut: Ruggero Raimondi
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
September 14, 1970
Opening Night

Rudolf Bing, General Manager


ERNANI {44}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Ernani..................Carlo Bergonzi
Elvira..................Martina Arroyo
Don Carlo...............Sherrill Milnes
Don Ruy Gomez de Silva..Ruggero Raimondi [Debut]
Giovanna................Ivanka Myhal
Don Riccardo............Charles Anthony
Jago....................Russell Christopher

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

Director................Henry Butler
Designer................Esteban Frances
Choreographer...........Milko Sparemblek

Ernani received six performances this season.

Review of Winthrop Sargeant in the New Yorker

The Metropolitan Opera House opened its season last Monday night amid fairly credible rumors that Rudolf Bing's long-awaited retirement will be delayed another year, because, as yet, the board of directors has found no replacement for him. The opening was an unusually sedate and refined one, with none of the overdressing that accompanied last season's first night, and people seemed to be there to enjoy the opera, even if they had paid sixty dollars an orchestra seat to do so. The opera was Verdi's early "Ernani," and though its Victor Hugo plot is one of the silliest in the repertoire, the opera is nevertheless a wonderful showcase for magnificent singing, and magnificence was what it got.

The dominant voice was that of Sherrill Milnes as Don Carlo. Mr. Milnes is steadily setting new standards as a Verdi baritone -standards that are new at least since long before the Leonard Warren era. The strength and vibrancy of his voice are extraordinary, and the artistic use of it is beyond criticism. His monumental coronation scene brought down the house. But he was not the only superb singer present. Martina Arroyo, as Elvira, did her extremely difficult role with beautiful vocal quality, producing a well-placed trill toward the end of her first-act aria, and if her voice was just a bit weak in the lower notes of this piece ("Ernani, involami," it is called) this was not surprising. The aria has a fiendish range, and in the past only a few sopranos, some of them with freakish vocal production (Celestina Boninsegna in particular comes to mind), have managed the whole thing with ease.

There was a new bass for the role of Don Ruy Gomez Silva-a young Bolognese named Ruggero Raimondi-and he, too, sang with fine quality and style, making an impression that will entitle him to many a future role at the Metropolitan Opera. He is not a deep bass, but he is one with plenty of velvet and a commanding stage presence. Carlo Bergonzi, who is long familiar to the New York public, sang the role of Ernani in his usual cultivated style. Thomas Schippers conducted, sometimes with mannerisms of one sort or another, but he kept things going at an agreeable crisp pace.


Photographs of Carlo Bergonzi and Martina Arroyo in Ernani by Louis Mélançon/Metropolitan Opera.



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