[Met Performance] CID:256510
Don Carlo {100} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/13/1979.

(Debut: Atarah Hazzan
Change of Performance
Change of Performance)

Metropolitan Opera House
February 13, 1979
In Italian

Giuseppe Verdi--François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle

Don Carlo...............Vasile Moldoveanu
Elizabeth of Valois.....Atarah Hazzan [Debut]
Rodrigo.................Garbis Boyagian [Last performance]
Princess Eboli..........Marilyn Horne
Philip II...............Paul Plishka
Grand Inquisitor........James Morris
Celestial Voice.........Leona Mitchell
Friar...................John Cheek
Tebaldo.................Betsy Norden
Forester................Robert Manno
Count of Lerma..........Dana Talley
Countess of Aremberg....Barbara Greene
Herald..................Charles Anthony

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

A scheduled performance of Ariadne auf Naxos on this date was changed to Don Carlo.

Review and account of John Rockwell in The New York Times

The best thing about Tuesday evening's performance of "Don Carlo" at the Metropolitan Opera was the performance itself, not the dramatic circumstances of its scheduling.

The original opera for Tuesday was to have been the first performance of the new and glamorously cast revival of "Ariadne auf Naxos." But Leontyne Price called in ill Tuesday morning; her "cover," Teresa Kubiak, was likewise indisposed; and the second cover, Leonie Rysanek had flown back to Germany, and no other Ariadnes were available. After considering their options, Met officials decided to go with their new production of "Don Carlo," but that entailed massive problems of its own.

First, about 450 phone calls had to be made to round up all those needed to perform the work. Second, "Don Carlo" had been done on Monday, and most of the principals were unwilling to sing again the next night. Third, the opera had to begin at 8 P.M., instead of the 7:15 P.M. at which the Met's generous new version of "Don Carlo" normally gets under way, which meant that the performance would run well into overtime (it eventually ended at 12:30 A.M.). And fourth, provisions had to be made for disappointed ticket-holders to exchange their seats for later performances. All in all, the company estimates the change in opera will cost $40,000.

The result was the performance before a half-empty house with four of the principal roles taken by stand-by performers. Atarah Hazzan, a soprano born in Israel and raised in New York who has sung with the New York City Opera, made her company debut as Elizabeth; Vasile Moldoveanu, who is singing Pinkerton at the Met just now, was the Carlo; Garbis Boyagian, who made his debut recently as Amonasro, was the Rodrigo, and Paul Plishka - who was actually scheduled to sing in the opera later on in the season - was the Philip. Otherwise, all was as before.

This was still a fine performance of the opera, however, as well as a tribute to the effectiveness of the new Met's "cover" system (at least for "Don Carlo" if not for "Ariadne"). All the newcomers fit smoothly into the production (a couple of minor lapses in stage business aside), and into James Levine's passionately convincing musical confection, as well.

The least successful of the four was the debutante, Miss Hazzan, and even she was good enough. Her soprano is simultaneously a bit pinched and swallowed, and a little small in scale for a part this prominent. Furthermore, she acted with excessive constraint. But her voice has its beauties, too, and she was never less than serviceable; she may well shine in other parts in other circumstances.

Most impressive was Mr. Moldoveanu --- if Giuseppe Giacomini of the first cast was this good, the Met is fortunate indeed. Mr. Moldoveanu seemed a bit nervous. But he has a fine, forthright spinto tenor with a most sympathetic timbre, he phrased with real authority and sensitivity - and he's a fine-looking man, to boot.

Almost as good was Mr. Boyagian who was far more comfortable with Rodrigo's music than he had been with Amonasro's. His baritone lacks the manly swagger of Sherrill Milnes's. But he has an appealing sensitivity and lyricism, and the actual sound is warm and attractive; his scenes with Carlo, and especially with the penultimate scene of the opera, were absolutely first-class.

Mr. Plishka lacks the ideal low notes for Philip, and his voice isn't the sonorous instrument of Nicolai Ghiaurov. But he sang and acted the part with a strong, fierce passion, and delivered his big aria with real conviction.

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