[Met Performance] CID:232350
Rigoletto {506} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/29/1973.

(Debuts: Ingvar Wixell, Domenico Simeone
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 29, 1973


RIGOLETTO {506}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Ingvar Wixell [Debut]
Gilda...................Gail Robinson
Duke of Mantua..........Enrico Di Giuseppe
Maddalena...............Joann Grillo
Sparafucile.............John Macurdy
Monterone...............James Morris
Borsa...................Nico Castel
Marullo.................Clifford Harvuot
Count Ceprano...........Louis Sgarro
Countess Ceprano........Betsy Norden
Giovanna................Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Page....................Nadyne Brewer
Guard...................Domenico Simeone [Debut]

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Herbert Graf
Stage Director..........Fabrizio Melano
Designer................Eugene Berman
Choreographer...........Zachary Solov

Rigoletto received eight performances this season.

Review of Harriett Johnson in the New York Post

Debuts, Changes in 'Rigoletto'

The air was charged last night for the first "Rigoletto" of the season at the Metropolitan Opera. Disappointment and expectation were about. Eruption, temperament, a little of everything followed along with Verdi. The night was wonderfully operatic, that is mad and marvelous,

Ingvar Wixell, Swedish baritone, whose reputation in great theaters of Europe and the San Francisco Opera had preceded him, made his Met debut in the title role. His large, bright baritone sounded as if its vibration potential were limitless. He was a malevolent father-figure and he contributed a lot to the excitement. He was evil and tragic: a big man with a big conception. He won fairly his ovations.

The other two stars scheduled didn't show: coloratura soprano Reri Grist and tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Both were felled by some variety of flu that has kept Christa Ludwig and Regine Crespin from the stage this week, and sent baritone Fischer - Dieskau home to Germany. The challenging job of replacement fell to two young Americans: soprano Gail Robinson as Gilda and American tenor Enrico Di Giuseppe as the Duke, his first at the Met.

Then there was the most important man in the sound mixture: conductor James Levine who made the score move as if every bar took off from an electric charge. If he bounced as if he were leading the orchestra from a trampoline he must be forgiven. He is a charged man and without him the performance would have been a lot less memorable. He made the problems and lapses minimal because the base never stopped pulsating. The music was immensely alive.

Di Giuseppe is a second generation Italian with the traditional temperament. He owns a flowing, lyric tenor whose top notes have splendor. When Pavarotti's indisposition was announced and Di Giuseppe mentioned to take his place, the audience applauded. It was obvious that he is well liked.

After his third-act aria, "Possente amore mi chiama," which he had sung very well, a couple of unwarranted "boos" came from the rear. Shocked Di Giuseppe looked like thunder, as if about to shoot. Immediately maestro Levine, himself, began to applaud. The audience followed with "Bravos" and plenty of acclaim. Earlier Di Giuseppe had sung a little sharp but later, including the Quartet, which became a highlight, he was excellent.

Miss Robinson possesses a pure, lovely voice and she even gave us a little sympathy for silly Gilda. Her "Caro nome" lacked rhythmic incisiveness and was colorless but Miss Robinson has potential no doubt about that. Though her top notes lack brilliance and impact, she retains a limpid ease and never forces. Thus the quality remains sweet. John Macurdy as Sparafucile and James Morris as Monterone were impressive; Joann Grillo an alluring Maddalena; Betsy Norden, a charming Countess Ceprano.

This "Rigoletto" despite its imperfections, was never boring. It was a night to make you forget logic and hail opera



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