[Met Performance] CID:177090

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, February 12, 1958

Debut : Gloria Davy

Aida (613)
Giuseppe Verdi | Antonio Ghislanzoni
Gloria Davy [Debut]

Kurt Baum

Irene Dalis

Leonard Warren

William Wilderman

Louis Sgarro

Robert Nagy

Helen Vanni

Carmen De Lavallade

Geoffrey Holder

Fausto Cleva

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in the March 1958 issue of Musical America

Gloria Davy, young American soprano, made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of "Aida" at this performance. Like so many leading singers at the Metropolitan these days, Miss Davy is a native New Yorker. In 1951 she won a Marian Anderson scholarship award. She had sung the role of Aida in Nice, France, and was heard in excerpts from the opera last summer at the Lewisohn Stadium. More recently, she had made a brilliant impression in the title role of Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" in a concert performance with the American Opera Society.

She has a very beautiful voice and emotional vitality on the stage, but Aida was not a happy choice for her Metropolitan debut. Her voice is lighter and more lyric in cast than the sort of voice that this heavy dramatic role demands; and, sincere as it was, her acting lacked the surety and impact to make her performance wholly convincing.

In those soaring phrases which are supposed to cut through the massive ensembles Miss Davy was at a disadvantage, as she was in that unforgettable exposed passage in the triumphal scene, Act II, Scene 2, on the word "colpir," when Aida suddenly has to carry forward the full surge of a climax and lead it into a pianissimo. The weight of tone and bravura were simply not there. But in the Nile scene and elsewhere she sang so persuasively that one looks forward eagerly to hearing her in other roles. Her costumes were very becoming, though they looked a bit too much like fashionable evening gowns. The audience gave her a hearty ovation.

William Wilderman's dark, imposing voice and powerful stage presence were major assets in his first performance of the role of Ramfis at the Metropolitan. Except for a few notes at the bottom of the range, he sang it with gratifying flow and ease. The rest of the cast was familiar. Kurt Baum was heard for the first time this season as Radames; Irene Dalis, substituting for Nell Rankin as Amneris, sang sumptuously and made the trial scene a high point of the evening; Leonard Warren was more exciting than ever in the role of Amonasro; and the others were Louis Sgarro, Robert Nagy and Helen Vanni. Fausto Cleva drove the orchestra hard, but with stirring results in the later acts.

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