[Met Performance] CID:173360

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, December 6, 1956

Rigoletto (378)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Tito Gobbi

Mattiwilda Dobbs

Duke of Mantua
Jan Peerce

Margaret Roggero

Giorgio Tozzi

Louis Sgarro

Gabor Carelli

Lawrence Davidson

Count Ceprano
George Cehanovsky

Countess Ceprano
Maria Leone [Last performance]

Thelma Votipka

Helen Vanni

Calvin Marsh

Fausto Cleva

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America

Tito Gobbi was heard for the first time at the Metropolitan in the title role of Verdi's "Rigoletto" at this, the season's fourth performance, and Margaret Roggero sang her first Maddalena there. Mr. Gobbi gave a vivid and unfailingly effective performance. He did not concern himself overmuch with vocal or dramatic refinements, and he was not in best vocal condition until Act III, but he knew precisely what to do to make every point in the role come home to the audience. Time after time, he was rewarded by spontaneous applause for this keen sense of theater. Once his troubles with pitch and placement had been solved, his voice was gratifyingly warm and voluminous

Perhaps his finest achievement was in Act IV in which he skillfully portrayed the transition from savage lust for vengeance to fatherly heartbreak so wonderfully expressed by Verdi's music. Miss Roggero was also excellent. She did not "ham" the role, as it is fatally easy to do, and she sang with careful attention to detail in the ensembles. Her Maddalena was an attractive baggage who might well have caught the eye of the Duke, not a poor man's femme fatale.

I have never heard Mattiwilda Dobbs sing so beautifully as she did on this occasion. Not only in the silvery arabesques of the florid passages, but in the more dramatically intense passages, her voice was unfailingly pure in texture and exciting in quality. Both in Act III and Act IV, she and Mr. Gobbi made the most of the pathos and turbulent shifts of emotion in the action.

Jan Peerce, who had sung three Bach arias only the evening before at Town Hall in admirable style, was in good voice as the Duke. Nor should Giorgio Tozzi's highly individual Sparafucile go unpraised. Others also in familiar roles, were Thelma Votipka, Louis Sgarro, Lawrence Davidson, Gabor Carelli, George Cehanovsky, Maria Leone, Helen Vanni, and Calvin Marsh. Fausto Cleva kept the whole performance rhythmically and dynamically alert.

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