[Met Performance] CID:183080

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, November 4, 1959

La Traviata (433)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Victoria de los Angeles

Cesare Valletti

Mario Sereni

Helen Vanni

Gabor Carelli

Baron Douphol
Calvin Marsh

Marquis D'Obigny
George Cehanovsky

Dr. Grenvil
Louis Sgarro

Teresa Stratas

Lou Marcella

John Trehy

Nino Verchi

Tyrone Guthrie

Set Designer
Oliver Smith

Costume Designer
Rolf Gérard

Zachary Solov

Stage Director
Hans Busch

La Traviata received fifteen performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in the December 1, 1959 issue of Musical America

The season's first performance of Verdi's "La Traviata," with Victoria de los Angeles and Cesare Valletti as Violetta and Alfredo, was to the usual performances we hear as champagne to table wine. It came almost as a shock to realize once again how much delicacy of coloration, how much finesse of workmanship there is in this score.

Not only did the beautiful singing of the artists bring new life and freshness to the music, but also the loving care of Nino Verchi, who conducted it for the first time at the Metropolitan. Mr. Verchi has his faults. He tends to lose the tempo in slow passages; he can be sentimental; and he does not always keep a sufficiently tight rein over the orchestra. But he has Italian melody in his veins; he is always with his singers; and he makes the orchestra sing. With mediocre forces, I suspect that he might not be very impressive, but with artists of such high calibre he is a splendid colleague.

Miss de los Angeles was ravishing in all the more lyric passages and supremely musical in everything she sang. The top tones put her under a certain strain, as they always do, but no one cared, so glorious was the beauty of her tone, phrasing, and delivery of the language. Mr. Valletti also sang Italian that was music in itself and blended his voice with hers in the subtlest and most masterly ways. He, too, does not have the high trumpet tones so dearly beloved by the gallery, but he is an artist to his fingertips.

New to the cast was Teresa Stratas, as Annina, and she both sang and acted the role capably. It is not a small thing to do small things well, and this newcomer to the company bears careful watching and encouragement. Whenever Miss de los Angeles is in the cast, everyone else always sings better, and Mario Sereni surpassed himself in the role of Germont père. A little stiff in bearing (which suited the character) he sang with both passion and mellowness of tone. The others were familiar: Helen Vanni, as Flora; Gabor Carelli, as Gastone; Calvin Marsh, as Baron Douphol; George Cehanovsky Marquis d'Obigny; and Louis Sgarro, as Doctor Grenvil.

The "Traviata" production seems less messy and old-fashioned, when the music is as movingly performed as it was at this performance. But Oliver Smith's ugly sets and Tyrone Guthrie's mannered and awkward production will never be really satisfactory. Nonetheless, we all left the house in tears after the death scene

with many a passage ringing on in memory.?

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