[Met Performance] CID:186710

Le Nozze di Figaro
Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, January 3, 1961

Le Nozze di Figaro (194)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Lorenzo Da Ponte
Cesare Siepi

Elisabeth Söderström

Count Almaviva
Kim Borg

Countess Almaviva
Lisa Della Casa

Helen Vanni

Dr. Bartolo
Ezio Flagello

Regina Resnik

Don Basilio
Alessio De Paolis

Lorenzo Alvary

Mildred Allen

Don Curzio
Gabor Carelli

Charleen Clark

Dorothy Shawn

Erich Leinsdorf

Review 1:

Review of Ronald Eyer in the New York Herald Tribune

MUSIC: 'Le Nozze di Figaro'

The management assembled a handsome and vocally opulent cast for this spit-and-polish performance of the Mozart masterpiece. The news of the evening was the new Cherubino in the attractive person of Helen Vanni. It seems the Metropolitan has found itself a most promising new recruit for the trouser roles. Strauss' Octavian and Cherubino are brothers in arms and sisters under the skin, and both are in double jeopardy. They are not only girls playing boys, but part of the time they are also girls playing boys playing girls.

This is ridiculous and completely impossible to do. But you can try. Miss Vanni tried and came as close to succeeding as any predecessor I can remember. Or, come to think of it, maybe she didn't try very hard and things came off well for that very reason. In any case, she eschewed the grotesque posturing, with the elaborate swagger and pigeon-toed stance, which is basic to the operatic copy-book notion of an adolescent youth. Whatever else he may have been, Cherubino was no lout if he got as far as he seems to have with the Countess. Miss Vanni played him straight, simply and innocently, and he came off a quite likeable and very handsome lad. He could sing too. Cherubino's big number in the second act was sung with distinction, style and a charming easy grace.

Lisa Della Casa, certainly one of the most beautiful Countesses on record, also has the natural dignity combined with vivacity which, combined, make the whole contretemps eminently understandable. And Kim Borg as her sex-bemused spouse won our sympathy with his projection of the poor foil. Cesare Siepi was good looking, dashing and in excellent voice as Figaro, and Elizabeth Söderström, though rather light of voice, was completely secure dramatically as Susanna. Regina Resnik got a special and well-deserved hand for her first appearance this season as Marcellina which is one of her best character parts. Other supporting roles were played with care and persuasiveness.

When Erich Leinsdorf is in the pit, one can look for a brisk, well-adjusted performance with just, but spritely, tempos and clean execution from the orchestra - and no nonsense from the other side of the footlights. This is just what we got Tuesday.

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