[Met Performance] CID:223480
La Traviata {572} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/31/1970.

(Robert Merrill's 25th Anniversary
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 31, 1970

In celebration of Robert Merrill's twenty-fifth anniversary with the company


LA TRAVIATA {572}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Joan Sutherland
Alfredo.................Carlo Bergonzi
Germont.................Robert Merrill
Flora...................Frederica von Stade
Gastone.................Charles Anthony
Baron Douphol...........Robert Goodloe
Marquis D'Obigny........Gene Boucher
Dr. Grenvil.............Louis Sgarro
Annina..................Loretta Di Franco
Giuseppe................Lou Marcella
Gardener................John Trehy
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................Howard Sayette

Conductor...............Richard Bonynge

Presentation
Lowell Wadmond, Chairman of the Board

[During the onstage ceremony following Act II, Robert Merrill was greeted by eight of his celebrated Violettas: Licia Albanese, Phyllis Curtin, Anna Moffo, Delia Rigal, Renata Scotto, Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, and Gabriella Tucci.]

Review and Account in Variety by Robert J. Landry

Robert Merrill, Stamina in a Baritone, Stars in 'Traviata' And At Opera Ball

The annual Opera Ball ($100 a head) of the Metropolitan Opera took place last Sat. (31) after the performance of "Traviata." The ball was historic because it honored one baritone (the Met has 24) for his quarter-of-a-century of warbling. Robert Merrill had begun as Germont pere in 1945, and was repeating. He had sung the role 64 times at the Met, over 500 times round the world. But Merrill is essentially hometown talent, originally a winner of a Met audition. (He's up in over 20 operas.)

It is hardly a discovery that talent is what the Met is selling (at $20 a seat down front), but Merrill night in the auditorium and the Merrill hop later on the Grand Tier reaffirmed that truism. Opera never puts its great names "above the title" (the composer is always the star), but otherwise the Met's stable of stars has to remind a trade observer of the stable at MGM when Louis B. Mayer was king.

The ceremonial part of Merrill night came directly after the Flora's villa third act. First came the Met's prize-winner for curtain speech diction, Osie Hawkins, now an executive stage manager, but once an opera singer, and still pear-shaped. The big stunt was to bring together the Violettas who had sung in Merrill performances of "Traviata." There had been 16, of whom eight were present on stage. But first Hawkins named the missing eight, and explained why they were missing, namely, Mary Costa, Victoria de los Angeles. Dorothy Kirsten, Bidu Sayao, Eleanor Steber, Antonetla Stella, Virginia Zeani and Pilar Lorengar.

The Violetttas who did muster, and a fine lot of high style and coif was exhibited, included Licia Albanese. Phyliss Curtin, Renata Tebaldi, Renata Scotto, Delia Rigal, Gabriella Tucci and that evening's Joan Sutherland. Add Anna Moffo, she of the recent rash of Italo films. The presence of so many prima donnas prompted Lowell Wadmond, the oil exec, speaking for the Met board, to quip that all these ladies had taken a lot of bad advice from Germont pere over the years, he presumed because the bad advice was so beautifully sung by Merrill.

Apropos the point of the Met's stars-in-depth repertory policy, "Traviata" was given the first three times this season with Teresa Zylis-Gara, the next three times by Miss Sutherland and the seventh time will use Miss Moffo. That the invariably sensational Joan Sutherland is not heard in season's firsts of "Lucia di Lammermoor" and "Travita" attests the Met policy of passing the plums around.

Reverting to Robert Merrill, his track record at the Met during his quarter of a century there, after the 64 performances in "Traviata," is as follows:
Reverting to Robert Merrill, his track record at the Met during his quarter of a century there, after the 64 performances in "Traviata," is as follows:
Lucia di Lammermoor………………………………………12
Carmen……………………………………….......................32
Boris Godounoff……………………………………............2
Faust………………………………………….......................29
Aida…………………………………………........................38
II Barbiere ………………………………….........................21
Il Trovatore ………………………………..........................38
Samson et Dalila……………………….............................6
Don Carlo…………………………………..........................40
Pagliacci…………………………………….......................16
Rigoletto ………………………………….........................33
La Bohθme………………………………...........................8
Un Ballo in Maschera ………………..............................36
Don Pasquale……………………………...........................4
La Forza del Destino…………………............................14
Andrea Chenier…………………………..........................7
Otello…………………………………...............................15
Tosca …………………………………..............................4

Total………………………………...................................432





Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).