[Met Performance] CID:204910

The Queen of Spades
Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, December 28, 1965

In English

The Queen of Spades (12)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Teresa Stratas

James McCracken

Blanche Thebom

Prince Yeletsky
Sherrill Milnes

Count Tomsky
Morley Meredith

Paul Franke

Lorenzo Alvary

Joann Grillo

Carlotta Ordassy

Master of Ceremonies
Gene Boucher

Loretta Di Franco

Gabor Carelli

Louis Sgarro

Carolyn Martin

Lawrence Eddington

Thomas Schippers

Review 1:

Review of Harriett Johnson in the Post

McCracken Deserved the Ace

"The Queen of Spades" is still haunting the Metropolitan Opera. Its combination of eerie chill, distraught gambling fever and Tchaikovsky's beautiful music are there whatever the degree of terror and hypnotism the particular performance induces.

Last night's Gherman was James McCracken, playing the role for the first time at the Met. He has lost weight and gained a histrionic credibility thereby which was less when his avoirdupois was more. Among dramatic tenors, his Otcllo is masterly, and his Gherman, who is a more superficial, wild man - that is, he's a distraught, possessed gambler - may end up fascinating in its way too.

McCracken's superb voice is produced with too dark a color which makes it more ponderous than it need be. But with this reservation, its quality suits the part and his interpretation had a mysterious thrust that heightened the foreboding. In Act III, he lost to the Queen of Spades, but in the measure of his performance, he deserved the Ace.

The young American baritone, Sherrill Milnes, who made his Met debut just a week ago in "Faust," sang his first Prince Yeletsky, and received an ovation after his aria. Milnes cut a dashing figure on-stage and his voice was vibrantly impressive.

Di Franco as Chloe

Morley Meredith was admirable in his first Met Count Tomsky.

Conductor Thomas Schippers is beginning to get more color and thrust from the score but his approach is still superficial, and he often insisted on far too much sound from the orchestra. The singers were overpowered when they shouldn't have been.

But generally it was a performance of impact and the audience responded with enthusiasm. This is an opera in which every nuance is important to the mood and the minor characters added considerably, notably Lorenzo Alvary as Surin and Loretta Di Franco as Chloe. She sang her solo with an artistic sensitivity and vocal sheen that makes us wish to hear her in bigger roles.

Teresa Stratas has grown considerably in the role of Lisa since her first appearance in it, and Joann Grillo made a perfect Pauline. The ballet was a delight.

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