[Met Performance] CID:174060

Il Trovatore
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, February 13, 1957

Debut : Mary Curtis-Verna

Il Trovatore (290)
Giuseppe Verdi | Salvatore Cammarano
Kurt Baum

Mary Curtis-Verna [Debut]

Count Di Luna
Leonard Warren

Jean Madeira

Nicola Moscona

Helen Vanni

Charles Anthony

James McCracken

Calvin Marsh

Max Rudolf

Review 1:

Paul Henry Lang in the Herald Tribune
“Il Trovatore”

Certain operas that form the hard core of the repertory are repeated so often that at times the best of will and the best of voices fail to dispel the ennui that settles on them like a smog.

Verdi's "Il Trovatore" is one of them, and even though it can be vibrant with dramatic and vocal excitement — as it often is at the Met — last night's performance was pallid.

Not that anything went wrong. Mr. Warren was the great baritone he apparently never ceases to be, and Miss Madeira brought real life and powerful singing to her scenes; Mr. Baum performed his part correctly, as did the others, except Mr. Moscona who could not steady his voice, but somehow the opera lacked vigor and conviction. Even the blacksmiths pounded their anvils with nary a belated spark visible.

Yet this should have been a zestful performance for the evening saw the debut of a new Leonora, an American Leonora.

Mary Curtis-Verna hails from Old Salem, Mass and brought back to her homeland the not inconsiderable experience of having sung leading parts in a number of important European opera houses. It was quite apparent that this young woman is a seasoned singer who knows the style and moves about on the stage with ease. She has a pretty good voice and a fairly voluminous one.

Whether it was the prevailing pallor, or the strain of standing up and be counted on this famous stage, her singing, up to the point where this reporter had to leave, was a bit spotty.There were some nice moments, but at times the pitch wavered, at others the phrases did not bend with the necessary flexibility.

Her registers are well blended, though variety of color is not her forte, and the high tones, which have power, tend to be projected individually, thus momentarily leaving the context of melody. Repeated hearings will tell whether the debut did justice to Miss Curtis-Verna's capabilities; for the time being we can report the appearance of an American soprano of better than average talents.

The public, more precisely part of it, did not think so. In fact, the public was so noisy and demonstrative — with some coaxing — that a stranger would have thought that a gala performance was taking place. Some of the bravoers should try for a Met audition; they have the lung power, and who knows, perhaps even the voice, to exchange their place with the singers. Wouldn't that make a pretty headline?

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