[Met Performance] CID:186130

Le Nozze di Figaro
Metropolitan Opera House, Sun, November 6, 1960

Le Nozze di Figaro (188)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Lorenzo Da Ponte
Cesare Siepi

Elisabeth Söderström

Count Almaviva
Kim Borg

Countess Almaviva
Lisa Della Casa

Christa Ludwig

Dr. Bartolo
Ezio Flagello

Mignon Dunn

Don Basilio
Norman Kelley

Lawrence Davidson

Mildred Allen

Don Curzio
Gabor Carelli

Charleen Clark

Dorothy Shawn

Erich Leinsdorf

Oliver Messel

John Butler

Stage Director
Ralph Herbert

Le Nozze di Figaro received eight performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the New York Herald Tribune

"Marriage of Figaro"

Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro," as presented for the first time this season last night at the Metropolitan, was superb for the reason that no one acted like a star. A contradiction? On the contrary, since the whole opera tends to lose its center of balance the moment one or another of the principal players tries to arrogate to himself more than his natural share of attention. "Figaro" is, of course, an ensemble piece, and its performance stands or falls on the interactivity of all the characters involved. And on this occasion the singers worked together as smoothly as if they rehearsed every day for a year.

This was so much the case that one hardly minded some of the vocal shortcomings that popped up every now and again. Kim Borg, for instance, is not one's ideal baritone, as his voice is truly a shade rough and unresonant. But he was so wondrously at home and at ease in all that he was called upon to do that his vocalism resulted in not a spot of listener discomfort. And Lisa Della Casa, though she is lovely beyond all reasoning, is a soprano whose timbre is basically cold, perhaps even a mite glacial. But she, too, fitted ideally into the complex of events that is "Figaro's" plot. In fact, she was not only playing a countess, she "was" a countess and off hand I can think of no higher praise to render an artist.

For the rest, there was not even the reservation of slight vocal defects to mar the singer's work. Elisabeth Söderström was a pert and fetching Susanna whose lines flowed with a crystalline color and delicious clarity; and Cesare Siepi has grown so vastly as Figaro that every gesture, every movement he makes seems honed to a state where it cannot be improved. And, naturally, he sings like a basso bird, though that hardly counts as news. The point is that his interpretation has become one of the glories of the house. Everything about it is right.

Further, Christa Ludwig as Cherubino sang enchantingly her two airs and, while her physical endowments make it impossible for one to imagine, for an instant, that she is a young boy (or even an old one), she plays the part with dignity and seems to have enormous fun the while she is doing it. And Mignon Dunn, who sang her first Marcellina with the company, blended admirably into the ensembles with which she was connected. Lastly, Ezio Flagello's Bartolo is far and away his most polished interpretation; in all details it is a joy to watch and hear.

Moreover, everybody in the lesser, though no less consequential, roles added a dimension or two to the entire production, which is now in the hands of Ralph Herbert, who has given the piece great zest and pace. It is a yeasty enterprise, the whole business, and it begins to rise in the orchestra where Erich Leinsdorf makes bubbles out of Mozart's tunes and floats them to his singers on stage.

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