[Met Performance] CID:164370

Il Trovatore
Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, December 25, 1953

Il Trovatore (272)
Giuseppe Verdi | Salvatore Cammarano
Kurt Baum

Zinka Milanov

Count Di Luna
Ettore Bastianini

Elena Nikolaidi

Nicola Moscona

Maria Leone

Thomas Hayward

James McCracken

Algerd Brazis

Fausto Cleva

Review 1:

Review of Raymond A. Ericson in Musical America

From the end of the first scene, smartly sung by Nicola Moscona, the Ferrando, and the chorus, to the end of the third act this was an interesting, but generally unrewarding, performance of "Il Trovatore." The subsequent intermission was greatly extended because a backstage elevator carrying chorus men got stuck between floors. The opera eventually had to go on without the unfortunate choristers (later freed), and the chorus in the "Miserere" sounded weak and distant because of the missing men.

Whether or not the accident put the principal singers on their mettle, the final act was a rousing one, excitingly sung. Zinka Milanov, the Leonora, produced some ravishing pianissimos in "D'amor sull'ali rosee" and sang very movingly in the "Miserere" and brilliantly in the ensuing duets with Ettore Bastianini, the Di Luna.

Mr. Bastianini, making his first appearance in the role at the Metropolitan, had apparently been too nervous earlier in the evening to do himself justice. During the fourth act, when he sang and acted freely, he revealed himself as potentially one of the best baritones in the Italian wing to come along in quite a while. He had a big, open voice of considerable beauty and he sang accurately and with much style. Still in his twenties, he carried his handsome figure extremely well; if his acting was still on the negative side, it was never false.

Elena Nikolaidi, in her seasonal bow at the Metropolitan, also took the role of Azucena there for the first time. The contralto's intelligence as an artist was always apparent in her restrained portrayal of the vengeful gypsy and her singing was musically admirable, if without the full fire, force and bigness usually associated with the role. In the less passionate music of the prison scene she came into her own with some truly lovely singing. Kurt Baum's Manrico was characteristically uneven in vocal quality, offering some fine phrases and one good high C. Fausto Cleva sometimes drove the performance a little hard, but otherwise he conducted with his customary sure command of the score.

Photograph of Ettore Bastianini as Count Di Luna by Sedge LeBlang.

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