[Met Performance] CID:315980
Aida {978} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/12/1994.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 12, 1994


AIDA {978}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Sharon Sweet
Radamès.................Lando Bartolini
Amneris.................Ghena Dimitrova
Amonasro................Leo Nucci
Ramfis..................Paul Plishka
King....................Franco De Grandis
Messenger...............John Horton Murray
Priestess...............Michelle DeYoung
Dance...................Joseph Carman
Dance...................Linda Gelinas
Dance...................Victoria Rinaldi

Conductor...............Samuel Cristler

Review of Alex Ross in The New York Times

Dimitrova in New 'Aida' Role

Entering the cast of "Aida" on Tuesday night, Ghena Dimitrova dominated the stage with her first Met portrayal of Amneris. She showed restraint in Act I, even seeming underpowered, signaling that she had her sometimes strident tone under control. A metallic upper edge suited Amneris's smoldering moods, and a successful stretch into the deep lower range (not so much chest tone as stomach tone) added another layer of menace. She made the character dramatically vivid, tracing grand gestures that fell comfortably short of melodrama.

Miss Dimitrova was the bright spot in a fairly bleak evening. Whatever dramatic momentum she incited ran up against the crushing dullness of Lando Bartolini's Radames. Mr. Bartolini presents the facsimile of a classic Italian tenor: tonal heft in all registers, a brilliant tessitura. But the notes are batted unfeelingly into the air, with no natural motion between them or musical understanding below. Add to this a below-the-pitch "Celeste Aida," wild rhythmic fluctuations in Act III and grade-school theatrics throughout (no rapport whatsoever with Sharon Sweet's Aida), and you have a performance of standard-setting mediocrity.

In other additions to the cast, Franco De Grandis was stiff but stentorian as the King, Leo Nucci contributed an adequate Amonasro, and Michelle De Young made for a haunting offstage priestess. Samuel Cristler, conducting at the Met for the first time, had a good feeling for the overall line but let many details go out of focus; he faced a ragged, unpolished orchestra and subpar chorus. All in all, this was a humdrum night at the Met, needlessly prolonged by an intermission between Acts III and IV.



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