[Met Performance] CID:164830

Don Giovanni
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, February 6, 1954

Debut : Fernando Corena

Don Giovanni (174)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Lorenzo Da Ponte
Don Giovanni
Cesare Siepi

Donna Anna
Margaret Harshaw

Don Ottavio
Cesare Valletti

Donna Elvira
Lucine Amara

Fernando Corena [Debut]

Roberta Peters

Lawrence Davidson

Luben Vichey

Max Rudolf

Review 1:

Review signed R. A. E. in Musical America

After presenting "Don Giovanni" in a number of performances that were mildly provocative and unsatisfactory. the Metropolitan suddenly came up with a cast that brought to life Mozart's tremendous opera.

Only two of the singers were new to their roles; Fernando Corena, young Swiss-Italian bass, made his American debut, as Leporello, and Lucine Amara sang the part of Donna Elvira for the first time. On the basis of this one performance, Mr. Corena would seem to be a most valuable addition to the number of singing-actors at the opera house. Given little chance to rehearse in the new unit set for "Don Giovanni," Mr. Corena moved about in it with agility and seeming ease, creating a Leporello that was human and comical, never a buffoon. The reasonableness of the portrayal made convincing Leporello's terror in the graveyard and final scenes. The bass worked hand-in-glove with Cesare Siepi, the Don of the evening, and the pair made a noteworthy effort to sing like each other in the first scenes of the second act. Mr. Corena's voice was an excellent one, securely produced, flexible, if of no great richness. Everything he sang had meaning, and his Italian diction was the most beautiful the Metropolitan has heard in a number of years.

Watching Miss Amara mature steadily as an artist and singer since her debut at the Metropolitan three years ago, in a tiny offstage part in "Don Carlo," has been a heartwarming experience. Her voice has become even better focused and more gleaming, and at this performance it seemed debatable that Donna Elvira's music had ever sounded so meltingly lovely. Miss Amara met the challenge of the coloratura passages with almost complete ease, and she brought to the role an appealing temperament, more than she had previously displayed. The hope is expressed here that Miss Amara's superb voice, though it is ample enough, will not be forced beyond its natural size.

Mr. Siepi's Don, now a season old, has improved enormously as a characterization; it had more dash, was more surefooted in action, and its reckless bravado in the final scenes was quite striking. In good voice in this performance, he sang with ease and style.

The fresh elements provided by Mr. Corena and Miss Amara, together with Mr. Siepi's distinctive work, were complemented by Roberta Peters' perceptive and delightful Zerlina, Margaret Harshaw's well sung Donna Anna, Cesare Valletti's stylish Don Ottavio, Lawrence Davidson's expert Masetto and Lubomir Vichegonov's sturdy-voiced Commendatore. Apparently on his mettle, Max Rudolf conducted with heartening vigor.

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