[Met Performance] CID:186630

La Gioconda
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, December 26, 1960

Debut : Nicola Barbusci, Paul De Paola

La Gioconda (185)
Amilcare Ponchielli | Arrigo Boito
La Gioconda
Eileen Farrell

Richard Tucker

Nell Rankin

Robert Merrill

Bonaldo Giaiotti

La Cieca
Mignon Dunn

George Cehanovsky

Alessio De Paolis

Louis Sgarro

Nicola Barbusci [Debut]

Paul De Paola [Debut]

Roland Miles

Edith Jerell

Bruce Marks

Fausto Cleva

Désiré Defrère

Set Designer
Antonio Rovescalli

Set Designer
Joseph Novak

Costume Designer
Mathilde Castel-Bert

Alexandra Danilova

La Gioconda received seven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America

Eileen Farrell, who had made her debut at the Metropolitan three weeks previously on Dec. 6 in "Alcestis," sang her first Gioconda there on this occasion and was an immediate success.

Of especial note was her acting, which was both convincing and touching. "La Gioconda" is a terribly old-fashioned vehicle that lives on only because it affords so many luscious opportunities for all the principals and the chorus and ballet. But Miss Farrell rescued the title role dramatically from the realm of the comic (where it has often tarried) and made it actually effective. Her singing, too, was more impressive than it had been in the Gluck opera. True, she slid off top tones a bit hurriedly at times, but nonetheless the big moments were all there and her voice was lovely in the quieter details.

Bonaldo Giaiotti, appearing for the first time in his role at the Metropolitan, was the most stolid Alvise I have ever encountered. Whether denouncing his wife and ordering her to take poison or displaying her (supposed) corpse to his horrified guests, he never lost his composure for a moment. Nor did he ever modify the strut which brought him on and off stage. His singing as such was not bad, but unfortunately this role calls for a powerful actor. What we need is not an alderman returning from a state dinner but a passionate and ruthless Venetian aristocrat. It is only fair to add that the audience applauded him vociferously.

Enzo has always been one of Mr. Tucker's best roles, and he was in splendid form. His Cielo e mar had the house breathless with suspense and then hoarse with enthusiasm. Also admirable was Miss Dunn as La Cieca. Her song of thanks to Laura was beautifully done and her duet with Miss Farrell a joy to the ear.

Miss Rankin made Laura a vivid figure, and, though she was rough with her voice, she made all of her arias and ensembles exciting. Mr. Merrill is a positive Gielgud compared to Mr. Giaiotti, but it must be conceded that it was his singing and not his acting that won him his ovations. Louis Sgarro, singing the role of the Monk for the first time, made this episode convincing.

Miss Jerell and Mr. Marks and the corps made Alexandra Danilova's ballet sparkle, and Fausto Cleva injected new life into this shambling old warhorse of an opera.

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