[Met Performance] CID:247050
Le Nozze di Figaro {269} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/14/1976.

(Debut: Maria Ewing, Leopold Hager, Phebe Berkowitz, Bruce Donnell
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 14, 1976


LE NOZZE DI FIGARO {269}
Mozart-Da Ponte

Figaro..................Justino Díaz
Susanna.................Judith Blegen
Count Almaviva..........Richard Stilwell
Countess Almaviva.......Evelyn Lear
Cherubino...............Maria Ewing [Debut]
Dr. Bartolo.............Andrew Foldi
Marcellina..............Jean Kraft
Don Basilio.............Andrea Velis
Antonio.................Andrij Dobriansky
Barbarina...............Betsy Norden
Don Curzio..............Nico Castel
Peasant.................Elyssa Lindner
Peasant.................Elvira Green

Conductor...............Leopold Hager [Debut]

Production..............Günther Rennert
Stage Director..........Phebe Berkowitz [Debut]
Stage Director..........Bruce Donnell [Debut]
Designer................Robert O'Hearn

Le Nozze di Figaro received eleven performances this season.


Review of Ron Eyer in the Daily News

A dignity that defines

Though the Mozart-da Ponte-Beaumarchais "Marriage of Figaro" is a social document (a political tract, if you will) masking as a comic opera, it commonly is presented as a simple farce about marital infidelity. Gunther Rennert's production, on view at the Met for the first time this season Thursday night, at least gives it a dignity that suggests 18th-century turmoil and impatience with the privilege of the gentry - in this case, the premarital rights of a lord with a virgin in his employ.

Figaro (beautifully articulated by Justino Diaz) remains uncowed by his master, Count Almaviva (admirably sung by Richard Stilwell). Nor is the Countess above conniving with her maid, Susanna - the object of her husband's lust - to bring about his exposure.

There were two newcomers to the house: conductor Leonard Hager, and Maria Ewing, who did a robust portrayal Cherubino. Pretty much confined vocally to two arias (including the famous "Voi, che sapete"), the mezzo from Detroit clearly merits a close inspection in deeper roles. Strong dramatic potential is there, and a voice - ample in size and capable of wide inflection - goes with it. Hager, closely identified with Mozart as a fellow Salzburger and present director there of the Mozarteum orchestra, respects his singers, and he holds to brisk tempos, which prevented the lags that sometime occur in the ensembles and in the moderately paced arias.

"Figaro" is, in fact, an ensemble opera, and Judith Blegen (Susanna), Evelyn Lear (Countess), Jean Kraft (Marcellina) and Andrea Velis (Don Basilio) fit well into the mold. There are no spectacular roles (only a couple of high Cs in the entire score), so no spectacular singers need apply (despite the Nordicas and the de Reszkes of the past). Neat, but not gaudy, workmanship is what counts - and that's what "Figaro" got Thursday night.



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