[Met Performance] CID:212000

Opening Night {83}, General Manager: Rudolf Bing

La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, September 18, 1967

La Traviata (527)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave
Montserrat Caballé

Richard Tucker

Cornell MacNeil

Nancy Williams

Charles Anthony

Baron Douphol
Robert Goodloe

Marquis D'Obigny
Gene Boucher

Dr. Grenvil
Louis Sgarro

Loretta Di Franco

Lou Marcella

Peter Sliker

Patricia Heyes

Ivan Allen

Howard Sayette

Fausto Cleva

Alfred Lunt

Cecil Beaton

John Butler

Stage Director
Bodo Igesz

La Traviata received sixteen performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Winthrop Sargeant in The New Yorker:

The Metropolitan Opera House opened its season Monday night of last week before an audience that was rather light on what is called aristocracy, consisting, as it did, largely of successful businessmen and their wives. The rhinestone horseshoe was no less brilliant though, and the women were no less pretty or fashionably dressed.

The opera was "La Traviata" and the production was not new, Alfred Lunt directed it, and the scenery was the Cecil Beaton setting, with the barnyard second act, and heavy everywhere with fake drapery. The principal singers were Montserrat Caballé, Richard Tucker and Cornell MacNeil - the last-named, of course, in the part of the elder Germont - and the conductor was Fausto Cleva. There was a good deal of flatting in the ensembles, and Mr. MacNeil did not appear to be in good voice. Mr. Tucker, with a handsome new reddish wig, sang the role of Alfredo with the art of a veteran, and though his voice is no longer in the prime of its youth, he managed to give the best performance of the evening.

How shall I describe the performance of Miss Caballé? Several years ago, when she made her debut with the American Opera Society as Lucrezia Borgia, she knitted her brows - a change of expression that gave her attractive face a slightly sinister look. Within the frame of the American Opera Society's concert performances, in which everyone is dressed in evening clothes and hardly anybody moves a muscle, to knot the brows is to act, and most of her audience, including me, thought they were in the presence of a formidable operatic tragedienne. Subsequent performances by Miss Caballé, however, have shown that brow-knitting is the beginning and end of her gamut of dramatic gesture. The other night, she knitted and unknitted her brows again. Otherwise, all that one can say of her visual projection is that she proved to be one of the largest sopranos ever to undertake the role of Violetta.

Vocally, there was more of interest. Miss Caballé is a pure lyric soprano, with unforgettable pianissimos. She sang the last three acts in a memorable manner. But she is not a natural Violetta, and her first act proved it. Here she had to force in order to negotiate the florid passages, and the result was a coarsening of tone and good deal of breathiness. Her voice is a curious one. It can cajole with the most limpid, velvety tone, but it cannot be pushed into a real fortissimo without damage to its quality.

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