[Met Performance] CID:152970

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, February 24, 1950

La Traviata (325)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Nadine Conner

Richard Tucker

Leonard Warren

Inge Manski

Alessio De Paolis

Baron Douphol
George Cehanovsky

Marquis D'Obigny
Lawrence Davidson

Dr. Grenvil
Clifford Harvuot

Thelma Altman

Audrey Keane

Peggy Smithers

Jonel Perlea

Review 1:

Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Met Opera Presents “Don Giovanni”


The Metropolitan Opera Association presented Mozart’s classic “Don Giovanni” as its penultimate selection of the season at the Academy of Music last night.


This tremendous manifestation of genius was vouchsafed one of the most interesting performances the company has given in this city.


Fritz Reiner conducted the opera for the first time here. Despite the feeling that more rehearsal could have been used to advantage here and there, things moved along at a thrilling pace. The eminent conductor was as solid as a rock, holding things firmly in hand, and giving the music the aristocratic spaciousness which is its inner flame.


No more felicitous casting has been observed than the group of singers brought over for the various roles.


American Debut


Interest was kindled by the appearance of Ljuba Welitsch as Donna Anna and by the debut of a celebrated European singing-actor, Paul Schoeffler, in the role of the ever-seeking Don.


Donna Anna is a far cry from the necrophilic Salome. Mme. Welitsch demonstrated at her first entrance in flaming red hair and pink satin negligee, that she had the key to the grand manner, and that her voice was suited to the classic contours of Mozart’s music.


Miss Welitsch was by far the most interesting Donna Anna this observer has seen. Her acting illuminated not only the motivation of her own role, but also that of her associates’ parts. There was point and meaning to what she did, and she accomplished it with style.


As to her singing, no more instrumental or easy vocalism has been heard in many seasons than her far-flung, silvery projections of the chaste vocal line of “Non mi dir.” Scales and fioritura were clean, as Mme. Welitsch presented an authentic picture of the great and sorrowful Spanish lady.


Aristocratic Handling


Mr. Schoeffler has not the animal magnetism of his predecessor, Ezio Pinza, but his Don is conceived in the best traditions. It is a more aristocratic impersonation than the Italian Basso’s and while his voice is not as unusual an instrument as the latter’s, he sings the music more easily, for Don Giovanni, after all, is a baritone and not a bass role. Mr. Schoeffler presented a fine, upstanding figure of the roving libertine.


It was a happy thought to cast Jan Peerce for Don Ottavio. This tenor’s covered, carefully managed tones fit this music like a glove. The two arias were beautifully sung.


Equally good was the idea of switching Regina Resnik from Donna Anna to Donna Elvira. Donna Elvira has presented a problem to the Metropolitan since Maria Muller left the company some 15 years ago. It would seem that this problem at last has been most successfully solved. Miss Resnik looked handsome, and sang with warm beauty of tone and style.


Patrice Munsel was a lovely little Zerlina – gay, sparkling and sympathetic. Her singing of “Vedrai carino” was most attractive.


Salvatore Baccaloni, despite a horrible moment of flatness in the Catalogue aria, did some good singing, while Mr. Harrell remains one of the most satisfactory Masettos of recent years. Nicola Moscona is not the best Commendatore the Metropolitan can produce.


The audience was enthusiastic to a degree, giving Mme. Welitsch a prolonged and vociferous ovation after her last act aria.

Review 2:

R. E. in Musical America

The fourth performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” brought Richard Tucker’s first appearance this season as Alfredo. His associates in the other two major roles – Nadine Conner as Violetta and Leonard Warren as Germont – had already offered their impersonations this year. Jonel Perlea again conducted.


Mr. Tucker employed his richly brilliant voice to the utmost advantage in the first two acts, where he sang with luxurious ease, smoothness, and great rhythmic verve. The dramatic music of the third act led the tenor into forcing occasional tones sharp, but the final act found him singing with his previous discrimination. If as an actor Mr. Tucker exhibited more aplomb than insight, the virtues of his exceptionally fine vocalism made his Alfredo most rewarding.


Inge Manski as Flora and Clifford Harvout, as Dr. Grenvil, sang their roles for the first time this season, and filled them ably. Miss Manski, in particular, handled her characterization with uncommon understanding and resourcefulness. Others in the cast were Thelma Altman, Alessio de Paolis, George Cehanovsky, and Lawrence Davidson. Peggy Smithers and Audrey Keane were the ballet soloists.


Search by season: 1949-50

Search by title: La Traviata,

Met careers