[Met Concert/Gala] CID:274270
Centennial Gala II. Metropolitan Opera House: 10/22/1983., Broadcast / Telecast
(100th Anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera
Broadcast / Telecast
Metropolitan Opera House
October 22, 1983 Broadcast / Telecast
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera
CENTENNIAL GALA II
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3
Conductor...............Leonard Bernstein [Last appearance]
Scenery for Act II of La Bohème
designed by Franco Zeffirelli
Andrea Chénier: Final Duet
Eugene Onegin: Prince Gremin's Aria
La Fanciulla del West: Ch'ella mi creda
Don Giovanni: Là ci darem la mano
La Bohème: O Mimì tu più non torni
Gösta Winbergh [First appearance]
L'Enfant Prodigue: Air de Lia
Lakmé: Viens Mallika
Don Pasquale: Signorina in tanta fretta
Der Fliegende Holländer: Wie aus der Ferne
Andrea Chénier: Ebbene Donnina innamorata; Nemico della patria
Aida: Fu la sorte
Samson et Dalila: Bacchanale
Metropolitan Opera Ballet
Choreography by Zachary Solov
Scenery by Robert O'Hearn
Don Carlo: Act I Duet
Anna Moffo [Last appearance]
Robert Merrill [Last appearance]
Regina Resnik [Last appearance]
La Bohème: Vecchia zimarra
La Gioconda: L'amo come il fulgor del creato!
Bianca Berini [Last Appearance]
Nabucco: Donna chi sei
Conductor: Thomas Fulton
Scenery for the final scene of Die Zauberflöte
designed by Marc Chagall
Presentation of Honored Guests
Osie Hawkins, Master of Ceremonies
Faust: Final Trio
Madama Butterfly: Love Duet
Rienzi: Allmächt'ger Vater
L'Italiana in Algeri: Act I Finale
Sesto Bruscantini [Last appearance]
Les Contes d'Hoffmann: Va pour Kleinzach
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Samson et Dalila: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix
Tristan und Isolde: Narrative and Curse
Lillijebjorn: I remember when I was seventeen [Encore]
Un Ballo in Maschera: Teco io sto
Entire Company of Centennial Galas I and II
TV Director.............Kirk Browning
Gala coordinated by Charles Riecker
Review of Irving Kolodin in Newsday (continued):
Turn the clock ahead to the grand finale: a duet from another Verdi opera. Leontyne Price and Luciano Pavarotti walked on to sing, enchantingly, a duet from "Un Ballo in Maschera" in a way to show why they had to be last. They had never performed together at the Met, and who knows when it may happen again?
But there were penultimates that could have been any other evening's ultimate. There was the splendid version of "My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice," from Saint-Saens' "Samson and Delilah," by Marilyn Horne. She turned around impulsively at the end to embrace Rise Stevens, a historically outstanding Delilah who was sitting among those gathered on the stage.
Then came the long-awaited return of Birgit Nilsson to perform in her very special way the narrative from the first act of Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde." She risked the only encore of the day by announcing it as a tribute to the centennial spirit. It was a favorite short song of Christine Nilsson, also from Sweden, who had sung Marguerite at the first of all "Fausts," on Oct. 22, 1883.
Earlier on, of course, there were innumerable comings and goings that gave rise to the question: What to pass by? One of the dubious distinctions came late in the evening when a veteran basso, Italo Tajo, appeared in a duet from Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" with soprano Barbara Daniels, who made her debut earlier this season. Why? Is it because he is a professor at the University of Cincinnati and she is from outside Cincinnati, where James Levine was born? Others before and after suggested the Sunday night concerts of the old Met, now fortunately a part of the past.
Not to be forgotten, however, was a telecast sequence in which the great tenor Nicolai Gedda walked on, smartly attired in black tie and well-tailored jacket, to deliver 'Una furtiva lagrima," from Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore," This completed a sequence of vocal art that had included a superbly stylish duet from Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" in which the fine art of Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus was partnered with that of the upcoming soprano Catherine Malfitano, whose father once had been a member of the Met orchestra.
What more can be added? Only that the greatest orchestral performance of the day came when Leonard Bernstein walked on to begin the evening sequence. Settled down, he encouraged the Met orchestra to give him and the world a version of Beethoven's Leonora No. 3 overture suitable to Vienna, where the composer grew up and the conductor now spends much of his time.
Account of Patrick J. Smith in Opera (UK)
The actual day of the 100th anniversary of the first Met performance (of "Faust"), October 22, fell fortuitously this year on a Saturday. The Met seized on this to produce what has to be termed the ultimate in galas, two separate performances (one of three-and-a-half hours, and one of five) of over 70 singers, all of which was televised live throughout the United States and Canada. It was a fitting tribute to the fact that the Met has always been considered, and still considers itself, primarily a singers' house.
The roster of singers included many of the world's greatest (Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Nilsson, Te Kanawa, Freni, Home, Domingo, Pavarotti, Gedda, Kraus, Bruson, Raimondi, Ghiaurov etc.), who have sung often at the. Met; many singers who over the years have had a close association with the house (notably Roberta Peters and Jerome Hines); a goodly share of comprimario singers and younger singers on the roster-quite rightly-and at least one (Gõsta Winbergh) who had yet to make his debut! Jess Thomas came out of retirement to sing with Jessye Norman; James McCracken returned to the house after his celebrated walk-out of a few seasons ago.
The orchestra, stalwart throughout the long day (and buoyed by a new orchestra contract, signed nine months early, which carries through to 1987), played the overture to "The Bartered Bride" (under Levine, who did most of the conducting) and "Leonore" No. 3 (under Leonard Bernstein); stretches were undertaken by Richard Bonynge, Jeffrey Tate, John Pritchard, and Thomas Fulton. The ballet corps and the chorus were both showcased, the latter singing (splendidly) the Hymn to the Sun from Mascagni's "Iris"-a welcome novelty that made a hit (and doubtless gratified the chorus master, David Stivender, who conducted it, since Mascagni is one of his favourite composers).
A few popular items were included (it is debatable whether Sir Rudolf Bing would have permitted James Morris to sing a medley from "Man of La Mancha!"); the newest operatic music sung was the quintet from Samuel Barber's "Vanessa."
On any such occasion, between Eva Marton's [first selection of the night] 'In questa reggia' and Price/Pavarotti' s closing love duet from "Ballo," there were ups and downs and curious choices, but the celebratory nature of the whole over-rode the specifics, and I much appreciated the efficiently businesslike pace of the proceedings, which allowed only one curtain bow and kept the show moving. There was sadness that Jon Vickers, in New York for "Peter Grimes," had chosen not to appear, and of the singers invited but unable to be there (Scotto, Rysanek, Ludwig, Corelli, Bergonzi), I particularly missed Cesare Siepi, who gave the house some of its finest evenings in the 1950s and 1960s. There was warm affection for the group of retired singers who appeared on stage for the closing portion. A touching moment came almost at the end, when Nilsson sang a favourite Swedish folk song of her predecessor Christine Nilsson's (the earlier Nilsson was the Marguerite in the [inaugural] night "Faust"). At the end, the massed stage full of artists, which would have made any opera company instantly world-class, sang 'Happy Birthday', and at one in the morning the glorious day was at an end.