[Met Performance] CID:190400

Un Ballo in Maschera
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, March 7, 1962

Debut : Patricia Heyes

Un Ballo in Maschera (80)
Giuseppe Verdi | Antonio Somma
Claudia Parada

Carlo Bergonzi

Cornell MacNeil

Jean Madeira

Anneliese Rothenberger

Bonaldo Giaiotti

Luben Vichey

Calvin Marsh

Andrea Velis

Robert Nagy

Patricia Heyes [Debut]

Ron Sequoio

Richard Zelens

Nello Santi

Review 1:

Review of Leonard Altman in Musical America
To this reviewer “Un Ballo in Maschera” has always been a less-than-fascinating piece which, in the hands of truly gifted artists, can be made to sound like “good” second-rate Verdi. But now, I must report, “Ballo” has achieved a new dimension; with a little effort (very little) and a complete misdirection of talent, it can actually sound like third-rate claptrap. Anyone who heard this performance has the proof.

What caused a few half-claqued idiots to come forth with loud bravos at the close of vocal passages that sounding like nothing so much as the suppressed operatic yearnings of the Hound of the Baskervilles is beyond my comprehension! Let’s be honest, with the exception of Cornell MacNeil (giving his first performance of Renato) and Carlo Bergonzi (who, despite a very free approach to Verdi’s score, has something substantial to offer both musically and interpretively), there was little or nothing of real vocal distinction in this Met presentation. At certain places a few enthusiastic hisses would have been a darned sight more appropriate.

To make matters worse, the chorus had one of its “extra-bad” nights. (Alas, of late there seem to be but three categories of choral singing at the Met – “bad.” “extra bad” and ‘superbly bad.”) So, there was little encouragement from that quarter.

As for the orchestra, it was sloppy, badly balanced, and tonally impoverished. Although this reviewer was certainly not aided by the fact that his seat was in the direct line of fire from Santi’s bass section, this unfortunate location cannot be “totally” responsible for the fact that the Met ensemble sounded for all the world like that Salvation Army Band playing on the Mall on a cold pre-Christmas night in December.

After the first scene of Act II, this write retreated to a local coffee shop. If things improved, he’ll never know.

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