[Met Performance] CID:177250

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, February 27, 1958

Otello (118)
Giuseppe Verdi | Arrigo Boito
Mario Del Monaco

Victoria de los Angeles

Leonard Warren

Rosalind Elias

Paul Franke

Nicola Moscona

Clifford Harvuot

Charles Anthony

Calvin Marsh

Fausto Cleva

Dino Yannopoulos

Set Designer
Donald Oenslager

Set Designer
Ellen Meyer

Stage Director
Hans Busch

Otello received eight performances this season.
In revising the sets for Acts I and IV, Meyer utilized elements from the previous production by Donald Oenslager. Acts II and III were essentially unchanged.

Review 1:

Review of Ronald Eyer in the March 1958 issue of Musical America

Revived after an absence of two seasons, Verdi's monumental Shakespearean drama received a galvanic performance thanks to a near-perfect roster of principals and one of the most resourceful conducting jobs of the season. Unlike much of Verdi, "Otello" is not an opera that will play itself regardless of who is singing. With a minimum of thrice-familiar arias, ensembles and other stock paraphernalia, it leans heavily upon the individual dramatic and vocal abilities of the main protagonists. It demands of the title part, of Iago and of Desdemona vivid, probing, full-dimensional characterizations - plus voices and a singing style of heroic proportions. These the Metropolitan happily was able to provide.

Mario Del Monaco has grown astonishingly in the role of the Moor. From the moment of his appallingly difficult "cold" entrance on the "Esultate!," with its high A, he is the alternatingly regal, brooding, tender, sickly jealous, ferocious Moor of Shakespeare's creation. And he has brought an added dignity to his performance -a restraint in the frenetic moments and a vocal refinement and nuance which are highly commendable.

Leonard Warren, too, as Iago, seemed to have improved upon what long has been one of his most sensitive, carefully detailed portraits. His vitriolic declamation of the "Credo" and the sinuous, reptilian mezza voce with which he enflames Otello over Cassio's dream were peaks in a performance sustained throughout at high altitudes. In her Desdemona, Victoria de los Angeles emphasized the qualities of sweetness, misinterpreted goodness of heart and religious piety which came naturally to their fullest fruition in the "Willow Song" and the "Ave Maria" of the last act, providing the opportunity for Miss de los Angeles' most beautiful singing of the evening. A bit more spirited conception would have been appropriate in the earlier acts.

Support of a high order was provided by Rosalind Elias as Emilia, Paul Franke as Cassio, and Nicola Moscona as Lodovico, as well as by Clifford Harvuot and Calvin Marsh in lesser roles. The chorus, the orchestra and Fausto Cleva at the conductor's desk shared equally with the soloists in the perfection of the performance. Mr. Cleva revealed an ultimate knowledge of the music coupled with a gratifying awareness of the special nature of the late Verdi music dramas (as distinguished from the earlier conventional operas) in such matters as continuity, the long line and the new significance of the orchestra in the over-all design and fabric of the work. The result was a "chef d'oeuvre."

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