[Met Performance] CID:208100

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, October 5, 1966

Rigoletto (449)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Cornell MacNeil

Roberta Peters

Duke of Mantua
Nicolai Gedda

Nedda Casei

John Macurdy

Raymond Michalski

Gabor Carelli

Robert Goodloe

Count Ceprano
Gene Boucher

Countess Ceprano
Lilian Sukis

Carlotta Ordassy

Karan Armstrong

Lloyd Strang

Lamberto Gardelli

Herbert Graf

Eugene Berman

Zachary Solov

Rigoletto received ten performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of William Bender in the World-Telegram

Last Act Letdown Blurs "Rigoletto"

As the lights went down at the Metropolitan Opera last night for the last act of "Rigoletto," expectations ran high.

It had been an exceptional evening up to that point.

Nicolai Gedda, singing, his first Duke, had been doing exciting things all evening, and Roberta Peters and Cornell MacNeil had been as brilliant. Conductor Lamberto Gardelli had been leading the opera for the first time at the Met with unusual subtlety and color. And the decade-old Eugene Berman production obviously was standing up well its first time in the new house. Its commanding blues and maroons, its archways and rear, intrigue-filled corridors, and its sturdy brick structures still the essence of imagination and practicality.

But somehow the act fell flat. The storm and lighting over Sparafucile's tavern seemed nothing more than what it was - lights playing against a rear-projection screen. The conductor broadened the tempo after the Quartet, striving for added power but losing tension instead. Gilda's death stretched on longer than usual. And MacNeil, who had been uncommonly subdued throughout the act, accepted his "maladezione" with surprising lack of emotion.


Nothing went terribly wrong. It was simply that the events of the first three acts demanded something commensurate - but did not get it. The musical whole became flaccid, and the act (possibly because of the lighting, which was erratic elsewhere) seemed bare and exposed.

There could be no denying the success of Gedda's Duke. The role seems to draw him an unusual spirit of abandon. One sometimes comes away from a Gedda performance all too aware that he thinks first where to place his feet, and then sings. There was very little of that last night, despite the fact that the "Rigoletto" sets are darker (and narrower in spots) than most. Vocally, from the first scene to the last, his voice rang out as it rarely did in the old house - and better acoustics did not seem to be the whole story. In addition, his phrasings were tasteful and stylish as ever.

Nor could there be any denying that Gardelli, who joined the company only last year, is a conductor of stature. He draws wonderful sounds from the chorus, and the orchestra gives him a rich, enforced, transparent instrumental blend that is full of mood and color, but rarely, to his credit, too much for the singers. Even if he did make a mistake in the last act, he is going to be a good man to have around.

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