[Met Performance] CID:200020

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, October 14, 1964

Debut : Nedda Casei

Rigoletto (428)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Nicolae Herlea

Roberta Peters

Duke of Mantua
Carlo Bergonzi

Nedda Casei [Debut]

Justino Díaz

John Macurdy

Gabor Carelli

Calvin Marsh

Count Ceprano
Robert Patterson

Countess Ceprano
Lynn Blair

Carlotta Ordassy

Junetta Jones

Peter Sliker

Nello Santi

Herbert Graf

Eugene Berman

Zachary Solov

Stage Director
Bodo Igesz

Rigoletto received fifteen performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Louis Snyder in the Herald Tribune

Four Firsts at the Met

Verdi's "Rigoletto," which is a great opera under almost any circumstances, was the third bill in the Metropolitan Opera's new season Wednesday night, with Nicolae Herlea in the title role, Carlo Bergonzi as the Duke, Justino Diaz as Sparafucile, and Nello Santi, the conductor, as prominent "firsts at the Met" in their assignments. There was also a debut by the Baltimore-born mezzo, Nedda Casei, as Maddalena. Roberta Peters sang Gilda, and John Macurdy was Monterone, with Calvin Marsh, Gabor Carelli, Carlotta Ordassy, Lynn Blair, Robert Patterson, Junetta Jones and Peter Sliker in other roles.

Every baritone worth the name must crave ultimately to sing Rigoletto whom the composer has given full-blooded dramatic and tender lyric music, opportunities to express love, hate, sarcasm, terror and remorse, all in the frame of an histrionic characterization calculated to inspire both distaste and pity. What a chance to prove oneself: De Luca, Ruffo, Tibbett and Warren did within living memory. Currently, Cornell MacNeil and. Robert Merrill offer strong individual conceptions. Wednesday night, Mr. Herlea, entered the lists, after a promising debut late last season as Rodrigo in Verdi's "Don Carlo."

Sad and surprising to say, Mr. Herlea is not ready to wear the cap and tingle the bells that are the jester's trademarks. In their duets, Miss Peters labored like Elektra to breathe life into her dormant father, and in his excoriation of the Duke's court in the third act, Mr. Herlea's singing was bland to the point of no return. Despite obvious gifts of intelligence and vocal quality, Mr. Herlea did not show the ability to project bite and definition into a role which needs all this and much more to be truly effective.

It was, therefore, left to Miss Peters and Mr. Bergonzi to sustain the grand line, and this they did. She was her usual pretty, musicianly self. He, though lacking the dash of a regal rake, breathed romance in an evening of superior singing. The Sparafucile of Mr. Diaz, also beautifully sung, will undoubtedly gain dramatic impact.

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