[Met Performance] CID:196220

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, November 6, 1963

Debut : Fern MacLarnon, Nira Paaz

Faust (571)
Charles Gounod | Jules Barbier/Michel Carré
Giuseppe Campora

Anna Moffo

Cesare Siepi

Mario Sereni

Rosalind Elias

Lili Chookasian

Louis Sgarro

Katharyn Horne

Edith Jerell

Fern MacLarnon [Debut]

Nira Paaz [Debut]

Fausto Cleva

Peter Brook

Rolf Gérard

Zachary Solov

Stage Director
Henry Butler

Faust received twelve performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Irving Kolodin in the November 23, 1963 issue of the Saturday

As the Metropolitan's currently No. 1 "French soprano," Anna Moffo is supporting responsibility for Marguerite in a restoration of "Faust," as she is the principal role in the new production of "Manon." In the former, as in the latter, she is dependent more on vocal aptitude, good looks, and a natural instinct for the stage than she is on useful indoctrination. This was sufficient to carry her though a charming version of the "Roi de Thule" ballad and a lively "Jewel Song," but it did not suffice for the more dramatic demands that follow. The realistic prescription for Miss Moffo would be to sing a few roles many times rather than many roles a few times, as has been her tendency of late.

Easily the best accomplishment of this "Faust" was the adroitly acted, mostly well sung Mephistopheles of Cesare Siepi. He has now acquired sufficient experience with the tailcoated, top-hatted Devil of Peter Brook's production to play him with some of the debonair ease of his Don Giovanni. Mario Sereni has good qualifications for the role of Valentin, as Rosalind Elias has for those of Siebel, allowing for the resources of wig and costume that convert a palpable "her" into an improbable "him."

What this endeavor most generously lacked was what it could least spare - an acceptable performance of the title role. Nicolai Gedda's continued absence was the occasion for a stern expedient, an emergency call for Giuseppe Campora, who has not been a member of the company since 1959. An intelligent and tasteful singer as always, Campora's vocal resources are seriously curtailed by a) physical inability to produce his top tones, or b) a loss of confidence in his ability to do so. In either case, he came close to losing control of the Top B in the Kermesse scene and got past a similar challenge in "Salut, demeure" ( a transposition from the written C) by working around it. This is doubly deplorable, as the voice retains much of its lyric charm otherwise.

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