[Met Performance] CID:176040

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, November 2, 1957

Debut : Robert Nagy

La Traviata (415)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Victoria de los Angeles

Daniele Barioni

Leonard Warren

Helen Vanni

Gabor Carelli

Baron Douphol
Calvin Marsh

Marquis D'Obigny
George Cehanovsky

Dr. Grenvil
Clifford Harvuot

Mildred Allen

Robert Nagy [Debut]

Osie Hawkins

Fausto Cleva

Tyrone Guthrie

Set Designer
Oliver Smith

Costume Designer
Rolf Gérard

Zachary Solov

Stage Director
Hans Busch

La Traviata received eleven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

Victoria de los Angeles Sings 'Traviata' Title Role

Saturday night, on the occasion of Victoria de los Angeles' first portrayal anywhere of the title role in "La Traviata," it was obvious to those who know and relish the soprano's previous achievement that she was not up to her usual mark. Indeed, the entire Metropolitan Opera performance, its first this season of Verdi's work, caught fire rarely, and even when it did ignite, it burned with a muted flame.

Still, Miss de los Angeles' distinctions are such that her near best is infinitely preferable to the very best of virtually hundreds of lesser sopranos. For her way with a tune, in its elegance of phraseology and delicacy of color, is one of the glories of contemporary opera-going. It is only natural, of courses that her initial tussle with a trying role should carry with it moments of perceptible edginess; but while they left no scratch on her acting ability, they did take their toll on the quality of her voice. This was noticeable principally in the highest peaks of her register, where an unexpected metallic buzz substituted for the limpid beauty of tone that is normally characteristic of her upper range.

"Vocal Enchantress"

Furthermore, the coloratura present from "Ah fors' e lui" onward was not negotiated with the airiness, the lightness, of expressivity demanded by the score; nor were the opera's outbursts of passion ("Amami, Alfredo" etc.) charged with the tension and drama that are their legitimate claim. Elsewhere, however, Miss de los Angeles was as ever a vocal enchantress able in a handful of measures to weave a tissue of sound luminous, glowing and of a velvet consistency. Her mezzo voce, especially, remains downright unearthly in its loveliness, and in those episodes where Violetta is made to sing phrases that are simultaneously sweet and soulful, the soprano acquitted herself royally. Likely, once she has settled into her part - it is not as simple theatrically as it appears - Miss de los Angeles will eradicate those blemishes discernible Saturday evening and make Verdi come to sparkling life on her own terms. Certainly, she has the voice for it, and her musicality is beyond reproach. Her Violetta, as a finished product, is very much something to await.

The rest of the cast, conducted by Fausto Cleva, included Daniele Barioni as Alfredo, Leonard Warren as Giorgio Germont and Helen Vanni, Gabor Carelli, Calvin Marsh, George Cehanovsky, Clifford Harvuot, Mildred Allen, Robert Nagy and Osie Hawkins.

Improvement Noted

As for Mr. Barioni, his improvement over last season is enormous, and he seems well on his way to becoming a tenor of the first rank. He is not quite that yet: he will be soon if he continues at his current rate of progress. At the moment, his strut and peacock air remain somewhat unfortunate in the light of his achievements. But when his tenor develops its full capacities, he will, with impunity, be able to adopt any, pose he sees fit. Viewed from any side, Mr. Barioni's Alfredo constitutes a bold step forward. His voice shone brightly, and it rang like well tempered metal. His interpretation was throughout distinguished.

Distinguished, too, was Mr. Warren, though in the past he has been known to lend more vitality to the part of the elder Germont. His singing, in general and as always, was ripe and luscious in sound, but his impersonation was a mite pale and aimless. The second act, as a result, did not come into focus as it should. All things considered, however, the trio of principals have it in them to mould a really memorable "Traviata." Surely, at another time the combination will click into that state of perfection and dramatic vivacity that was lacking in this instance.

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