[Met Performance] CID:229230
La Traviata {580} Hynes Civic Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/25/1972.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 25, 1972


LA TRAVIATA {580}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Violetta................Anna Moffo
Alfredo.................Franco Bonisolli
Germont.................Robert Merrill
Flora...................Jean Kraft
Gastone.................Charles Anthony
Baron Douphol...........Robert Goodloe
Marquis D'Obigny........Gene Boucher
Dr. Grenvil.............Edmond Karlsrud
Annina..................Ann Florio
Giuseppe................Lou Marcella
Gardener................Peter Sliker
Dance...................Patricia Heyes
Dance...................Ivan Allen
Dance...................Jeremy Ives

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

Review of Ellen Pfeifer in the Boston Globe

Met's 'Traviata' mostly a rehash

"La Traviata" is one of those operas that is so abundantly tuneful and whose basic plot is so familiar that the meanings of words, inflections, and detailed characterization are often glossed over in performances and each production begins to look like every other one. Sure, you get the basic idea - when a character is happy sad, angry - but you miss a lot of details that together flesh out the drama.

This is the kind of "Traviata" that the Met presented last night in its second performance of the current season at Hynes Auditorium. A "Traviata" that does not tell you about Germont pere and the kind of bourgeois mentality that motivates him. One that has Violetta falling in love with Alfredo almost at first sight, thus contradicting the teasing tone of all the words she addresses to him in the first act and weakening the effect of her big soul-searching scene, which concludes the act. One that, in general, has characters addressing one another, but looking away or gesturing in ways that do not reflect the words expressed.

The production, by Alfred Lunt with handsome sets and costumes by Cecil Beaton, starred Anna Moffo as Violetta. She is certainly one of the most beautiful Violettas you will ever see, slender enough to look convincingly consumptive. Her voice,
unfortunately, is very really in an unhealthy state - small enough to be inaudible at times and brittle, especially in confronting notes above the staff. She also has a very disturbing way of robbing notes of their full value, which proved disastrous in the "Amami, Alfredo."

To have a Violetta and an Alfredo who are both attractive and believable is a rare pleasure, and the Alfredo last night, Franco Bonisolli, was certainly a physical complement for Moffo. He sang very well, too, and with great vitality in the aria where he throws his gambling winnings at Violetta. He missed more entrances, however, than I am comfortable with musically. Robert Merrill, singing what must be his one millionth performance of Germont senior, was in superb vocal health.. His idea of acting seems to be facing forward with one arm raised, but his voice is still one of the most imposing in the operatic world.

In the pit again last night was Richard Bonynge, and again there were the same problems of ensemble with nobody able to stay with the orchestra, least of all the chorus. For some reason, Bonynge wouldn't allow any phrase air or elasticity and insisted on (but didn't get) absolute metronomicity from singers and players alike.

Choreographer John Butler supplied tasteless, inane dances for the third act that had nothing whatsoever to do with the opera.



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