[Met Tour] CID:210560

Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mon, May 29, 1967

Turandot (88)
Giacomo Puccini | Giuseppe Adami/Renato Simoni
Birgit Nilsson

Franco Corelli

Gabriella Tucci

Bonaldo Giaiotti

Frank Guarrera

Robert Nagy

Charles Anthony

Emperor Altoum
Andrea Velis

Robert Goodloe

Prince of Persia
David Milnes

Lawrence Eddington

Craig Crosson

Harry Jones

Donald Mahler

Phillip Rice

Howard Sayette

Zubin Mehta

Review 1:

Review of Max de Schauensee in the Bulletin

The Met Returns With 'Turandot'

Sound Softened After First Act, Opera Passes Test in Big Hall

The Metropolitan Opera returned to Philadelphia last night after more than a six year silence. It was on March 21, 1961 that the Metropolitan last appeared here with oddly enough, the same opera that marks its return - Giacomo Puccini's "Turandot." Even some of the singers, notably Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli, and Philadelphian Frank Guarrera, were the same.

Here, however, the sameness ended. The present return of the Metropolitan to Philadelphia is a courageously challenged experiment. Instead of the Academy of Music, we have the far larger, reconditioned Civic Center.

Instead of the final weeks of October - when the 1961 season began - we are about to greet the month of June. The size and character of the audience also is different, and the size of the present auditorium must be taken into account in more ways than one.

Last night's [start] of the Met's one-week season was a confirmed and deserved success. A huge and responsive crown attended. Everything worked smoothly except the amplification during the first act. Here it sounded much too loud and resultingly metallic. But by Act Two, things were nicely adjusted. And during the final act, you were hardly conscious of the added volume - at least not from Row M downstairs where I was sitting.

Since the Civic Center is co-used for sporting events, contains vast spaces, an opera of a spectacular rather than intimate character is indicated as better suited to these distances.

"Turandot" is such opera and Puccini's scoring is good and loud with its strong demand for stentorian voices. It is difficult to image more suitable voices than those of Mme. Nilsson and Mr. Corelli for the roles of Turandot and Calaf. The soprano has a trumpet in her throat and a dead-center attack on the uppermost note which are sensational. She has softened and improved her characterization of the icy Chinese princess and remains undoubtedly the Turandot of our day.

Mr. Corelli sang splendidly and looked handsome. He stopped the show with his melodious "Nessun dorma" and its climatic high B. This good-looking fellow had himself a time all evening; so did the enthusiastic fans.

Gabriella Tucci gave a charming Liu, singing with great clarity and feeling a role that can easily be made sentimental. At her side, Bonaldo Giaiotti, as the old king, did not seem in his best voice. Frank Guarrera, Robert Nagy, and Charles Anthony were the lively and accurate Ping, Pang and Pong, and Robert Goodloe, a resonant Mandarin.

The last time the Met performed here, Leopold Stokowski was the "Turandot" conductor. Last night it was Zubin Mehta, the young East Indian, who achieved a fine sense of balance once the amplification was properly adjusted.

The excellent Metropolitan orchestra and chorus were as we remembered them at the Academy; so were Cecil Beaton's fine sets and costumes. "Turandot" has always been one of the Met's best shows, therefore it logically follows that it provided a splendid opener.

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