[Met Performance] CID:286300
Aida {920} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/23/1986.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 23, 1986


AIDA {920}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Aprile Millo
Radamès.................Bruno Sebastian
Amneris.................Grace Bumbry
Amonasro................Cornell MacNeil
Ramfis..................Paul Plishka
King....................Terry Cook
Messenger...............Robert Nagy
Priestess...............Hillary Johnsson
Dance...................Marcus Bugler
Dance...................Sam Cardea
Dance...................Joseph Carman
Dance...................Ricardo Costa
Dance...................Joseph Fritz
Dance...................Linda Gelinas
Dance...................Kimberly Graves
Dance...................Virgil Pearson-Smith
Dance...................Ellen Rievman
Dance...................Christopher Stocker

Conductor...............Nello Santi


Review of Peter Goodman in Newsday:

Aprile Millo, an Aida of Great Promise

It has taken a few years and a lot of globetrotting, but Aprile Millo's Aida has finally arrived at the Metropolitan Opera House. And she's worth the wait.

The young American soprano has been singing Verdi's grandest heroine, in Europe and the United States, since she began her professional career. Since the early '80s the Met has been her professional home, providing training, coaching and security. Her destiny it would seem has been to sing Aida in that house,

Thursday night, she sang the second of her two Aidas there this season. Millo does not have a riveting stage presence, at least not yet. Nor did her voice command immediate attention, even during "Ritorna vincitor" in Act I. But it grew in confidence, warmth and character as the evening continued, until one felt, during "O patria mia" in Act III that this would eventually be a legendary interpretation.

Indeed, for the thrill-seekers in the house of whom there were plenty, Millo shot a high E-flat ringing over the massed chorus and orchestra at the climax of the triumphal scene in Act II. It was a note she didn't try during the first performance last week, according to several witnesses.

Millo, not yet 30, is in many ways a throwback. Her acting was broad and operatic outlines of emotion rather than intimate expressions of it. But her voice was flawless, unforced from top to bottom, with a moderately dark color and enough metal to give it strength but not to make it hard. Those who sought stage drama would not find it; those who wanted to hear a singer giving full expression to some of the most beautiful music ever written were very happy.

Of course, the Ethiopian princess isn't the only character in "Aida." Millo shared the stage with, as Radames, tenor Bruno Sebastian, himself making only his second appearance at the Met, and, as Amneris, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry. Both are strong singers, so the central triangle was well-matched vocally, and they shared the same dramatic characteristics.

Bumbry's Amneris was as stagy as Millo's Aida, and her voice was at least as strong, round and even. She did not chew the scenery, as Amneris the wronged woman can, but she was always a powerful presence.

Sebastian is a substantial singer. His "Celeste Aida" was not perfect (there were traces of strain, and he did not hold the final note), but he too grew in vocal presence as the performance went on. His duets with Millo were superbly musical.

Paul Plishka was a commanding Ramfis and Terry Cook's King rumbled satisfactorily. Cornell MacNeil's Amonasro had a voice like a worn coat, with a few surprising clumps of smooth fur. Nello Santi conducted, and sometimes Millo and Sebastian raced ahead of him.



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