[Met Performance] CID:171460

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, April 4, 1956

Review 1:

Review of Frank Milburn Jr. in the April 1956 issue of Musical America

Some splendid singing and highly dramatic, if uneven, orchestral playing characterized the season's tenth and final performance of "Tosca." Two of the principals -- Jussi Björling, as Cavaradossi, and Walter Cassel, as Scarpia-sang their roles with the company for the first time this season.

It was a fine night for Mr. Björling, his voice sounding lustrous and fresh in "Recondita armonia" and continuing to sound thus throughout the evening. "E lucevan le stelle" was highly rewarding, for he sang it as music and not as a display for pyrotechnics. Zinka Milanov's Tosca again showed that this is one of her finest roles, and I have never heard her sing a more sumptuous sounding "Vissi d'arte".

Mr. Cassel's Scarpia is a highly intelligent characterization. One can be thankful that he made Scarpia a baron, not a peasant barking out sharp commands, which is the way the role is unfortunately too often handled. Vocally, he has sounded better in past performances, for his voice was lacking in its customary resonance. But it must be added that in the moments when Mr. Cassel could not be heard the fault was more Dimitri Mitropoulos', who often allowed the orchestra to play with such fortissimos that it was practically impossible to hear anybody.

Completing the cast were Clifford Harvuot, as Angelotti; Gerhard Pechner, as the Sacristan; Alessio De Paolis, as Spoletta; George Cehanovsky, as Sciarrone; Calvin Marsh, as the Jailor; and Rosalind Elias, substituting for Peter Mark, as a Shepherd.

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