[Met Performance] CID:247130
Aida {847} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/22/1976.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 22, 1976


AIDA {847}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Rita Hunter
Radamès.................Carlo Bergonzi
Amneris.................Elena Obraztsova
Amonasro................Matteo Manuguerra
Ramfis..................James Morris
King....................Philip Booth
Messenger...............Paul Franke
Priestess...............Jean Kraft
Dance...................William Badolato
Dance...................Eleanor Bobb
Dance...................Jack Hertzog
Dance...................Diana Levy
Dance...................Naomi Marritt
Dance...................Stanley Perryman

Conductor...............Kazimierz Kord


Review of Patrick J. Smith in Opera (UK)

Last year's new production of Aida has mercifully been shorn of its Kabuki gestures, and what is now evident is that John Dexter, for all his daring, has given us a production designed primarily for singing. The oratorio-like groupings to stage front, and the constant singing to the audience, make the ideas of the production (basically an interior, night-view of "Aida") secondary. Here, unlike the "Trovatore," the cast and pit cohered into a performance of opera which was highly effective.

The cast was very fine. Carlo Bergonzi, once past a routine Italian tenor conception of 'Celeste Aida', gave a superior performance, elegantly sung. The voice has lost some of its lyricism, but it remains a lovely instrument. Rita Hunter is, of course, visually completely miscast as Aida, and her voice lacks the varieties of colour (and a true pianissimo) that it should have, but she sings very cleanly with a knowledge of what she can and cannot do. Elena Obraztsova was the Amneris. While is it true that her acting is more grandiose than we are accustomed to, and that her Judgment Scene needs focusing in stage movement, this was a vocal and histrionic performance of world class. Imperious, tigerish, always in control of her mezzo (which has that characteristic Russian 'roll', but which also has that chest-and-gut timbre that is almost unknown here), and with a command of Italian enunciation, Obratsova was rightly acclaimed as the sensation of the early Met season. Manuguerra's Amonasro and James Morris's Ramfis were both strongly sung, and the evening was helped by Kazimierz Kord's virile conducting.



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