[Met Performance] CID:174420

Don Carlo
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, March 16, 1957

Debut : Irene Dalis

In Italian

Don Carlo (43)
Giuseppe Verdi | François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle list Italian text as translators?
Don Carlo
Jussi Björling

Elizabeth of Valois
Delia Rigal

Ettore Bastianini

Princess Eboli
Irene Dalis [Debut]

Philip II
Cesare Siepi

Grand Inquisitor
Hermann Uhde

Celestial Voice
Emilia Cundari

Louis Sgarro

Madelaine Chambers

Count of Lerma
Charles Anthony

Countess of Aremberg
Natalie Kelepovska

James McCracken

Fritz Stiedry

Margaret Webster

Rolf Gérard

Stage Director
Hans Busch

Translation by Lauzières, Zanardini
Don Carlo received five performancest his season.

Review 1:

Review of Raymond A. Erickson in Musical America

March 16.-One of Verdi's most fascinating operas, "Don Carlo" fortunately is also one of Rudolf Bing's favorites. It has seldom been absent from the Metropolitan's repertoire since the general manager used it to open his first season with the company, on Nov. 6, 1950.

Its revival on this occasion, after only a season's absence, reaffirmed the opera's great beauty as well as the distinction of the Metropolitan production. Rolf Gerard's sets and costumes still seem among his finest contributions to the repertoire, in visual handsomeness, appropriateness of mood, and usefulness to the stage director. If memory serves correctly, Margaret Webster's clean, concise stage movement has been maintained faithfully by Hans Busch, at the same time that some of the individual characterizations have been deepened. Finally, Fritz Stiedry's eloquent conducting of the score has grown in dramatic vividness and force; it was, on this occasion, one of the finest performances of Italian opera to be heard at the opera house.

The cast was superb. Of the original production there were Cesare Siepi (Philip II); Jussi Björling (Carlo); and Delia Rigal (Elisabeth). From later performances there were Ettore Bastianini (Rodrigo); Louis Sgarro (Friar); Charles Anthony (Lerma); James McCracken (Herald); and Natalie Kelepovsky (Countess of Aremberg). Newcomers were Hermann Uhde (Inquisitor); Irene Dalis (Eboli), making her Metropolitan debut; Madelaine Chambers (Theobald); and Emilia Cundari (Celestial Voice).

Mr. Siepi has always sung Philip's music with a fabulously beautiful tone, but his characterization, vocally and dramatically, has never before suggested with such rich detail the monarch's troubled, lonely, yet tyrannical spirit. It seemed like one of the major achievements of today's operatic stage.

Miss Dalis, young mezzo-soprano of San Jose, Calif., who has been singing for the past three years with the Berlin Municipal Opera, met the exacting demands of the part of Eboli with such vocal and dramatic authority as to make her debut one of the most exciting in recent seasons. While there are mezzos with more luscious voices at the Metropolitan, hers is of first-rate caliber, a little dry in the lower register but brilliant at the top, with carrying power all the way through. Her expert vocalism and musicianship were immediately apparent in the Veil Song, which Miss Dalis sang better than I have ever heard it sung. In the tricky ensemble with Carlo and Rodrigo in the Queen's gardens she was just as impressive, and her sweeping, almost torrential handling of "0 don fatale" won her a genuine ovation from the capacity audience. Everywhere, Miss Dalis' acting went hand-in-glove with her singing.

Mr. Björling, much slimmer than when he last sang Carlo, was also a more active and dramatic figure and still as fine a singer, with his shining voice, and impeccable phrasing. Rodrigo offers one of the most congenial roles for Mr. Bastianini's luscious voice, and he was less placid an actor than usual. Miss Rigal had some bad moments vocally but in general she sang with a solid, handsome tone, and made a tragic, regal figure.

Mr. Uhde was a wondrously thin, ascetic Inquisitor, with a will of iron. Miss Chambers complemented Miss Dalis charmingly in the Veil Song, and the contributions of the other singers were unfailingly right. All in all, this was one of the Metropolitan's finest performances in recent years.

Search by season: 1956-57

Search by title: Don Carlo,

Met careers