[Met Performance] CID:167460

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, December 25, 1954

Tosca (318)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Licia Albanese

Eugene Conley

George London

Salvatore Baccaloni

Alessio De Paolis

Lorenzo Alvary

Clifford Harvuot

Margaret Roggero

Calvin Marsh

Fausto Cleva

Désiré Defrère

Set Designer
Mario Sala

Set Designer
Joseph Novak

Tosca received thirteen performances this season.
J. Novak designed the sets for Acts I and III, Sala the set for Act II.

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America

The season's first performance of Puccini's "Tosca," on Christmas night, was thoroughly satisfactory, if not distinguished. Licia Albanese 's brilliant abilities as an actress ensured a vivid performance of the title role and, although hers is not a Tosca

voice, she saved her resources cannily for the climaxes, so that the tone carried through in them. There were many fine touches in her performance, such as the manner in which Tosca lured Scarpia towards her just before she stabbed him, and the handling of the difficult stage business in Act III, just before and just after Mario is shot.

George London's performance as Scarpia was the most impressive achievement of the evening. Once again, his superb diction; logical, consistent interpretation of character; and masterly stage deportment revealed the true artist. The voice, too, was rich and impressive, notably in Act II. Scarpia's attack upon Tosca on the couch was sufficiently realistic to shock the Victorians in the audience, although I remember a performance by the late Grace Moore and by Lawrence Tibbett about ten years ago that put this one into the shade. What do people expect in such a situation - that Scarpia should indicate his burning desires by putting his hand on his heart and fanning himself? Unless it is plain that Tosca has good reason to be physically afraid of Scarpia, the whole act is ruined.

Eugene Conley replaced Jan Peerce, who was indisposed, as Cavaradossi. He sang with freshness and freedom, if not very excitingly. Most of the others in the cast were also familiar in their roles; Lorenzo Alvary, as Angelotti; Salvatore Baccaloni, as the Sacristan; Alessio De Paolis, as Spoletta; Clifford Harvuot, as Sciarrone; and Margaret Roggero, as the Shepherd. Calvin Marsh appeared for the first time at the Metropolitan in the role of the Jailer.

Fausto Cleva and the orchestra were in good form, and the passage depicting morning in Rome at the beginning of Act III had some delicate sonorous effects, although the bells were a little too loud. In Act II, Mr. Cleva provided Miss Albanese and Mr. London with an emotionally intense accompaniment for their dynamic acting and singing.

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