[Met Performance] CID:209370

The Queen of Spades
Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, February 7, 1967

In English

The Queen of Spades (22)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Felicia Weathers

Robert Nagy

Jean Madeira

Prince Yeletsky
Robert Goodloe

Count Tomsky
Morley Meredith

Paul Franke

Lorenzo Alvary

Joann Grillo

Carlotta Ordassy

Master of Ceremonies
Gene Boucher

Loretta Di Franco

Gabor Carelli

Louis Sgarro

Naomi Marritt

Ivan Allen

Thomas Schippers

Review 1:

Review of William Bender in the Herald Tribune

Bit Part to Main Role - Nagy Steps Up at Met

If you have seen a recent "Aida" at the Metropolitan Opera, you have seen Ohio-born Robert Nagy. Ever since James McCracken packed his bags for Europe in the late 1950s, Nagy has been the Met's regular Messenger - the chap who dashes on stage in Act I and declares in a loud tenor voice that the barbarous Ethiopians have invaded Egypt. "Il sacro suolo dell'Egitto" and so on. If you'll recall, Nagy has a remarkably powerful voice. So strong, in fact, that there are those who contend that he probably could deliver the message from the Ethiopian border itself, saving himself a lot of time and running.


Be that as it may, there is a man behind that voice - a man with hopes and ambitions that have nothing to do with a lifetime of singing the Messenger in "Aida." Last night those dreams materialized in the shape of his first lead role at the Met - Gherman, the brooding gambler-lover in Tchaikovsky's "Queen of Spades." After a near decade of comprimario roles (the operatic term for bit parts) - after years of running on and running off, or of being somebody's trusted (or untrusted) lieutenant - Nagy pronounced like baggy) finally got to kiss the girl himself, to die in the end, and, in the great tradition of show business, to steal that extra bow.

He sang the role on only three days' notice because of the illnesses of Jon Vickers and his first "cover" (standby), Arturo Sergei. Although Nagy had worked up the role last season, when he was the first "cover," he never actually sang it, and this year he hadn't rehearsed it at all. On that basis alone, his performance last night had to be eminently praiseworthy, especially since his presence was required in every scene.

His Gherman had flaws, to be sure. But what struck one the most was his extraordinary potential. His voice has a penetrating, copperesque heroic ring to it. Its sound is clean and healthy, the highs particularly. One forgot his Gherman and began. thinking what a heldentenor he would make with the proper coaching and experience. He is, after all, only 36 and later this year he will do six Siegmunds in "Die Walküre" with Herbert Graf in Geneva. So keep an eye on what happens there. The future may produce something. As to those flaws. They are things that must be ironed out - right now. He exaggerates his enunciation terribly - the way silent-movie actors used to overdo their gestures - and he explodes far too many vocal phrases. But he is capable of soft modulation (some of which was too soft last night) and, as stated before, he can ring out the high notes with the best of them.

There were two other last-minute substitutions. As Lisa, Felicia Weathers showed real progress in the role she used for her Met debut last season. Robert Goodloe, replacing William Walker (stuck in the snow on Long Island) as Yeletsky, did not display all the vocal power required, however. Thomas Schippers conducted the otherwise familiar cast.

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