[Met Performance] CID:186140

Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, November 7, 1960

Debut : Nikola Nikolov

Carmen (596)
Georges Bizet | Henri Meilhac/Ludovic Halévy
Kerstin Meyer

Don José
Nikola Nikolov [Debut]

Lucine Amara

Lorenzo Testi

Teresa Stratas

Margaret Roggero

Paul Franke

George Cehanovsky

Norman Scott

Calvin Marsh

Lolita San Miguel

Thomas Andrew

Jean Morel

Review 1:

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

Nikolov Debut in Met 'Carmen'

At the repeat performance of Bizet's "Carmen" Monday night at the Metropolitan, Nikola Nikolov, a tenor from Sofia, Bulgaria, made his local debut in the role of Don José, and Lorenzo Testi sang his first Escamillo at the house. The remainder of the cast included Kirstin Meyer in the title part, Lucine Amara as Micaela, Norman Scott as Zuniga, Calvin Marsh as Morales, Teresa Stratas as Frasquita, Margaret Roggero as Mercedes, Geroge Cehanovsky as Dancaire and Paul Franke as Remendado. Jean Morel was again the conductor.

Mr. Nikolov, I am sorry to say, was so paralyzed by debut jitters that he failed to make any notable impression at all. And, if the sounds he produced on this occasion were not a result of the strain attendant on a first New York appearance, then he really has no legitimate business at the Met. Throughout the evening he produced not a single tone below the forte level even when the score demanded otherwise, and there were frequent instances during which he bellowed rather than sang. Further, he and the proper pitch were not always in agreement, nor did he attempt, at more than odd moments, to shape a phrase so that it emerged with any clear shape or profile. In all, then, one must wait for Mr. Nikolov's future opera assignments to discover whether his faults were traceable to first night nerves or are a consequence of imperfect training.

As for Mr. Testi, he, too, seemed rather out of his element. In the "Toreador" air, for example, he found the low notes unmanageable and the high ones beyond his grasp. But quite apart from the strain which the role placed on his vocal resources, his acting was of a kind to make one imagine that if he ever got as far as a bull ring he would likely trip on his cape.

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