[Met Performance] CID:187720

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, April 5, 1961

Debut : Gianna D'Angelo

Rigoletto (405)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Robert Merrill

Gianna D'Angelo [Debut]

Duke of Mantua
Jan Peerce

Mignon Dunn

William Wilderman

Louis Sgarro

Gabor Carelli

Clifford Harvuot

Count Ceprano
Calvin Marsh

Countess Ceprano
Teresa Stratas

Thelma Votipka

Joan Wall

Paul De Paola

Nino Verchi

Review 1:

Review of Alan Rich in Musical America

The strange shuffling of major and minor singers in and out of the Metropolitan for practically one-night stands that has characterized much of the past season never seemed more unfortunate than it did on the occasion of Miss D'Angelo's debut. Here is a first-rate and valuable artist who suddenly appears a week before the season's end, covers herself with glory - and then what? Will we hear her soon again, or must Fortune's wheel continue to spin and stop at will?

At any rate, Miss D'Angelo was wonderful. She made of Verdi's fluttering ninny a creature of genuine life and emotion, and she did this with every resource of voice and stage presence. Her voice is silvery and completely pure, lacking just the slightest warmth at its lower end, but free and totally manageable all the way to its impressive soaring top. She gave us at many turns the kind of velvety pianissimo that generally exists only in Verdi's fondest dreams. Intelligence, control, variety, color-they are all there in splendid abundance. Furthermore. she is a marvelous actress and beautiful besides. She is American, born in Hartford. An adornment for some years now of several Italian operatic stages, she also owns a goodly amount of the heart of San Francisco, where I heard her first (as Gilda and Lucia) two years ago. You can also hear her Gilda in the otherwise middling Columbia "Rigoletto," but she must be seen to be completely believed. I can only pray that her tantalizingly brief hour on the stage in New York is but the promise of things to come.

Unfortunately, there is little else to be said for this final "Rigoletto" of the season. Mr. Peerce gave his by now familiar demonstration of sustained vocal struggle, and practically shouted at Miss D'Angelo throughout their long scene in Act II. Robert Merrill sang quite beautifully throughout the evening, but gave little indication that he is aware of the dramatic implications of his tremendous role. Mignon Dunn and William Wilderman gave sturdy and credible accounts of the villainous duo, but seemed understandably cramped by Eugene Berman's smaller-than-life last-act setting. Nino Verchi's conducting, if not particularly eloquent, was at least honest and serviceable.

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