[Met Performance] CID:190290

Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, February 24, 1962

Macbeth (13)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave/Andrea Maffei
Anselmo Colzani

Lady Macbeth
Leonie Rysanek

Giorgio Tozzi

Carlo Bergonzi

George Shirley

Carlotta Ordassy

Gerhard Pechner

Carlo Tomanelli

Walter Hemmerly

Calvin Marsh

Louis Sgarro

Bloody Child
Lynn Blair

Crowned Child
Mildred Allen

Joseph Rosenstock

Carl Ebert

Caspar Neher

Mattlyn Gavers

Macbeth received six performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of John Ardoin in Musical America

With this performance, Macbeth returned to the Metropolitan's repertory after a season's absence. The first two acts remain intact but the Met still fusses with Act III-the scene between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is omitted and replaced by part of the ballet music to accompany the appearance of Ecate. There is still no intermission between Acts III and IV (part of the ballet music is played between set changes), but at least the battle scene between Macbeth and Macduff has been restored and Macbeth is not left to die alone on the stage.

The focal point of the opera is, of course, Lady Macbeth, and for her Verdi has written music unsurpassed in its theatrical power. In the hands of a great singing-actress such as Leonie Rysanek, Lady Macbeth's music becomes doubly potent and exciting. Miss Rysanek did not have the complete ease in her upper register that she had two seasons ago (she barely tipped the D-Flat in the Sleepwalking Scene), but otherwise this is still one of the memorable vocal and dramatic characterizations of this decade. She has sharpened her portrayal of the Sleepwalking Scene to a rare point of dramatic excellence. As she sang "Andiam Macbetto," she seemed to be actually pulling an invisible and frightened Macbeth from the scene of their crime.

Like Miss Rysanek, Anselmo Colzani's first Macbeth at the Met was not merely a chain of stylized poses and gestures but a taut, vivid enactment. His voice may lack the richness of the late Leonard Warren, but his fusion of voice and drama towers far above Warren's portrayal.

The remaining burden of the opera falls to the chorus. Despite the score's many blemishes (the awkward witch scenes and the corny military music), the choral writing is some of the most stirring in all of opera and the Met's chorus was deeply impressive. Carlo Bergonzi shone brilliantly in his one big moment, "Ah, la paterna mano" of Act IV, as did Giorgio Tozzi in Act II with "Come dal ciel precipita." Heard for the first time at the Met in their roles were George Shirley, Calvin Marsh, and Lynn Blair. Joseph Rosenstock conducted a much less frenzied performance than Erich Leinsdorf.

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