[Met Performance] CID:155450

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, December 23, 1950 Matinee Broadcast

Review 1:

Cecil Smith in Musical America

The seedy production of Gounod’s ‘Faust” was presented for the third  time at the matinee of December 23 by a cast whose capable singing distracted attention somewhat from the crude, ancient settings and from Désiré Defrère’s deadly and unimaginative staging. Jussi Bjoerling sang the title role with a felicitous style, and lovely tone, attaining an enviable high C in “Salut, demeure.” Dorothy Kirsten’s Marguerite has gained in pathos this year, but her musical interpretation still suffers from the want of a good pianissimo in the garden scene. Frank Guarrera was an exceptionally forceful Valentin, though he overacted embarrassingly in the death scene. Cesare Siepi was a striking Mephistopheles in point of vocal sumptuousness, but his characterization has not yet scratched below the surface of a subtle and difficult part. Anne Bollinger, Thelma Votipka and Lawrence Davidson were the other principals. In the Walpurgis Night ballet, the choreography was scandalously inadequate and the dancing was as indifferent as they had been before. It was particularly disappoint5ing to see Nana Gellner giving so parsimoniously of her talents in her function as the Metropolitan’s prima ballerina. Fausto Cleva conducted ably, but the general air of the mis-en-scene did not seem to inspire him to much poetry

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