[Met Performance] CID:204630

La Fanciulla del West
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, December 1, 1965

La Fanciulla del West (54)
Giacomo Puccini | Guelfo Civinini/Carlo Zangarini
Dorothy Kirsten

Dick Johnson
Franco Corelli

Jack Rance
Anselmo Colzani

Andrea Velis

George Cehanovsky

Robert Nagy

Russell Christopher

Robert Goodloe

Clifford Harvuot

Gabor Carelli

Jim Larkens
Gene Boucher

Paul Franke

Jake Wallace
Ezio Flagello

Norman Scott

Post Rider
Frank D'Elia

Louis Sgarro

Billy Jackrabbit
Edward Ghazal

Shirley Love

Fausto Cleva

Henry Butler

Gerald L. Ritholz

Wolfgang Roth

La Fanciulla del West received fifteen performances this season.
The sets and costumes were borrowed from Lyric Opera of Chicago. Arrangement of the physical production, which in Chicago had been revised by Gerald Ritholz, on the Met stage was supervised by Wolfgang Roth.

Review 1:

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Saturday

Almost everything was in tune with the fictitious West depicted by Puccini when "La Fanciulla" had its first performance of the season at the Metropolitan. "Tune" is used here not in the narrow technical sense of vibrations per second, but in the broader, philosophic sense of temperamental affinity. Dorothy Kirsten performed her carefully marcelled Minnie with an emotional intensity as deep as the lacquer on her gleaming fingernails, and she had the ideal opposite in the Dick Johnson of Franco Corelli, easily the tallest good-bad man this role has known.

The only false note was intruded by Anselmo Colzani, who had the unconventional idea that Sheriff Jack Rance was a real person, and worked devotedly to achieve that end. This is the kind of effort that can give a performer a bad name among his operatic colleagues. As it happens, Rance's reward for being "real" is to lose both the bandit he is seeking and the girl he loves, which shows how much, in opera, virtue is its own reward.

For Miss Kirsten, this Minnie marked the twentieth anniversary of her debut at the Metropolitan in 1945, a fact that could not be deduced either from her appearance or her sound. She is, of course, a much more assured performer now than she was in that introductory "Bohème," but still much the same kind of singer. Now, as then, she leaves considerable question why, with the voice and technical skill she commands, she fails to convey more emotional conviction. It is related, no doubt, to the same preoccupation with effect rather than meaning that resulted in the well-coiffed Minnie of the mining camp. It tends to persist.

As for Corelli, his Johnson in "Fanciulla" was much the same as his Rodolfo in a "Bohème" later in the week in which Renata Tebaldi made her first appearance of the season. Italian tenors are notoriously susceptible to self-love, but Corelli's resistance is well below the average. To be sure, he has a better justification than most in the sight that confronts him from a mirror or the sound on the playback of a record, but this is all the more reason for a man of so manly a bearing to resist it. The "Fanciulla" folk (Ezio Flagello as Jake, Andrea Velis as Joe, Norman Scott as Ashby) had strong guidelines to follow in the conducting of Fausto Cleva, making his first appearance of the season after a lengthy illness, Unfortunately, he didn't feel up to following through with" Bohème," for which he was replaced by George Schick just before curtain time. Its principal distinction, thus, was the radiant mood of Tebaldi as Mimi.

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