[Met Performance] CID:168300

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, March 17, 1955

Otello (116)
Giuseppe Verdi | Arrigo Boito
Set Svanholm

Lucine Amara

Leonard Warren

Martha Lipton

Paul Franke

Luben Vichey

Clifford Harvuot

James McCracken

Louis Sgarro

Fritz Stiedry

Review 1:

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

Svanholm Takes Otello Role At Last Minute at the Met

As expected, Lucine Amara sang her first Desdemona in last night's performance of Verdi's "Otello" at the Metropolitan Opera House. Unexpectedly, the audience also heard a locally new Otello, Set Svanholm, who substituted at short notice for the indisposed Mario Del Monaco. The Swedish tenor was not a stranger to the role, which he had sung abroad and, in Italian, with the San Franciscan Opera in 1947 and 1948, and his interpretation gave no hint of a lack of opportunity for recent rehearsal.

Miss Amara, who has been making unspectacular but steady progress towards the front rank of the Metropolitan's vocal roster, gave a sympathetic, appealing portrayal of the hapless Desdemona. The character's personality and emotions were revealed with a pervasive sense of spontaneity and absence of pose; her singing also had appropriate expressive color and range of musical hues. In climactic top notes, there was very effective power; the best of these had firmness as well as strength, although some variations of tonal merit in the higher altitudes led one to wonder if power was sometimes achieved at the expense of vocal prudence and foresight. Elsewhere, however, her vocal standard was consistently meritorious during the first three acts.

Intelligence and understanding marked Mr. Svanholm's Otello throughout: it was generally convincing both from the musical and dramatic standpoints, and there was emotional force in the Moor's raging outbursts. He also sang with warmth and usually well rounded tones. The music, indeed, seemed to call for a slightly larger, more powerful voice in its most outspoken measures, but this impression, while present, was latent rather than a matter of obvious straining for a maximum volume. Leonard Warren reappeared as Iago, and Martha Lipton, Paul Franke, James McCracken, Luben Vichy, Clifford Harvuot and Louis Sgarro, who appeared as the herald for the first time, completed the cast under Fritz Stiedry's conductorship.

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