[Met Performance] CID:186040

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, October 29, 1960 Matinee

Debut : Kerstin Meyer

Carmen (594)
Georges Bizet | Henri Meilhac/Ludovic Halévy
Kerstin Meyer [Debut]

Don José
Jon Vickers

Lucine Amara

Frank Guarrera

Teresa Stratas

Margaret Roggero

Paul Franke

George Cehanovsky

Norman Scott

Calvin Marsh

Lolita San Miguel

Thomas Andrew

Jean Morel

Tyrone Guthrie

Rolf Gérard

Zachary Solov

Stage Director
Ralph Herbert

Carmen received eight performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in the December 1960 issue of Musical America

Miss Meyer, a leading mezzo-soprano of the Stockholm Royal Opera and widely known and esteemed in Europe, made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of the season's first

"Carmen." Her Don José was Jon Vickers, who was singing the part for the first time here, but who had appeared with Miss Meyer in Europe.

It was at once apparent that Miss Meyer is a skilful actress and an accomplished singer, supremely sure of herself on the stage and alive every second to the dramatic situation and the musical give-and-take of the score. The voice is not remarkable either for its volume or for its sensuous appeal, but Miss Meyer knows how to shape and move and color it to suit every dramatic situation. I suspect that Carmen is not one of her best roles, but I was genuinely impressed by the intelligence and resourcefulness with which she handled it. Into the posy, artificial Tyrone Guthrie production at the Metropolitan she injected a heartening note of raw, earthy realism. Everything she did bore the imprint of an alert intelligence.

Mr. Vickers was also a distinguished Don José. How refreshing it is to encounter a tenor who can be lyric in Acts I and II and dramatic in Acts III and IV, and who (mirabile dictu) can end the "flower song" with a pianissimo! Now, I want to hear Mr. Vickers sing "Celeste Aida." And, dramatically, too, this performance was miles above operatic routine. One really sensed the shy intensity of the country boy in a sophisticated environment and his desperation when the love for which he had sacrificed everything was cruelly thrown in his face. The audience divided its ovations fairly between him and Miss Meyer. In both cases it was a triumph of all-round artistry.

The rest of the cast was familiar. Miss Amara may always be depended upon for pure, limpid tone and Micaela has always been one of her best roles. Mr. Guarrera had convincing swagger and gallantry as Escamillo, and the others all rose to the excitement of the occasion. Mr. Morel, too, was livelier than is his wont. The quintet was a highlight of the performance, swift as a swallow and beautifully articulate.

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