[Met Performance] CID:196460

Die Zauberflöte
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, November 30, 1963

Debut : Shirley Love, Harry Horner

In English

Die Zauberflöte (139)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Emanuel Schikaneder
Anna Moffo

Nicolai Gedda

Queen of the Night
Gianna D'Angelo

Cesare Siepi

Theodor Uppman

Jeanette Scovotti

Andrea Velis

Walter Cassel

First Lady
Mary Ellen Pracht

Second Lady
Shirley Love [Debut]

Third Lady
Gladys Kriese

Junetta Jones

Marcia Baldwin

Joann Grillo

Gabor Carelli

Robert Nagy

Justino Díaz

Frank D'Elia

Charles Kuestner

Hal Roberts

Silvio Varviso

Harry Horner [Debut]

Translation by Ruth and Thomas Martin
Die Zauberflöte received seven performances this season.
This was Harry Horner debut as a director

Review 1:

Review of Irving Kolodin in the December 14, 1963 issue of the Saturday

Given the present range of singing talent at the Metropolitan Opera's disposal, a proper revival of Mozart's "Magic Flute" could well start with Joan Sutherland as the Queen of the Night. That the one currently on view starts, instead, with Gianna d'Angelo is about the measure of the magic to be derived from it. In general, the able trio of male principals (Theodor Uppman as Papageno, Nicolai Gedda as Tamino, and Cesare Siepi as Sarastro) were matched among the females only by Jeanette Scovotti as Papagena. Anna Moffo, as Pamina, was innocuously characterless both in sound and action, and Miss d'Angelo sounded too much like too many previous performers of her part - thin, insecure, undramatic.

Doubtless it will be said that it is impracticable for Miss Sutherland to devote an evening to the Queen of the Night's two arias, or that she is "reluctant." However, superior performances of masterworks are not achieved by the merely practicable, whether it is an insufficient voice for some of Mozart's most exacting music, or such an expedient as Silvio Varviso to conduct in place of the ailing Lorin Maazel. Varviso's credits included courage, musicality, and a measure of taste; but even in the second act, where he was better adjusted to his surroundings, there was too little of the symphonic interplay of orchestra and voices which differentiates this mode of writing from, say, Donizetti's in "Lucia."

With so little that was energizing from the pit, it was left mostly to the performers to provide their own impulse. It came in strongest measure from Uppman, whose command of the (seemingly) naturalistic comedy of his part is consummate, his delivery of the music ideally affectionate. Siepi's Sarastro and Gedda's Tamino are each qualified to be a component of a better totality than Varviso achieved on this occasion. Andrea Velis as Monostatos and Walter Cassel as the High Priest also performed creditably, as did the versatile Miss Scovotti.

However, such is the abundance of genius Mozart poured into this operatic valedictory that where there is at least a marginal amount of performing talent there must be recurrent enchantment. Much of it came in this cast from the well-chosen Ladies (Mary Ellen Pracht, Gladys Kriese, and Shirley Love, who was making her debut) and the engaging "Knaben" ( Junetta Jones, Marcia Baldwin, and Joann Grillo), also from the knowing staging of Harry Homer. His production continues to work better than is reasonably expectable on a stage so lacking in mechanics as the Met's. But Mozart deserves much better than the sum of effort in this "Flute."

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