[Met Tour] CID:225620

La Périchole
Masonic Temple Auditorium, Detroit, Michigan, Thu, May 27, 1971

In English

La Périchole (54)
Jacques Offenbach | Henri Meilhac/Ludovic Halévy
Teresa Stratas

Theodor Uppman

Cyril Ritchard [Last performance]

Old Prisoner
Andrea Velis

Carol Wilcox

Judith Forst

Frederica von Stade

Donald Gramm

Paul Franke

Richard Best

Charles Anthony

Gene Boucher

Vladimir Chistiakov

Suzanne Laurence

Strong Man
Howard Sayette

Phillip Rice [Last performance]

Littlest Clown
Judith Thelen

Tania Karina

Anthony Santiago

Franz Allers

Review 1:

Review in the Detroit Free Press

Met Stages Its Best One Yet, Bright, Tuneful 'La Perichole'

The most fun and the brightest production of the Metropolitan Opera's week in Detroit awaited those who attended Offenbach's "La Perichole," Thursday's offering at Masonic Auditorium.

The whole thing is pure fluff and froth. But it is presented in such classic comic style, the settings are so clean and bright, the staging and the pacing are in such up-tempos as to assure success to the rollicking, melodious work. It is referred to as a comic opera, but one must consider Offenbach the inexhaustible fount of true French operetta.

The story, lightly based on actual event, deals with two poor Peruvian street singers who want to get married but don't even have the money for a license. La Perichole catches the eye of the Viceroy of the country, who decides to make her his mistress. But the protocol-bound ruler has certain requirements for his woman. She must be noble, but he can and does confer titles easily. She must also be married, so a suitable and complaisant man must be found to marry La Perichole. Of course, it is her despairing lover, Paquillo, whom the courtiers find to go through with what they think will be a mock ceremony. Well, you can take it from there. There is, of course, a happy ending. The Viceroy forgives the couple and Perichole and Paquillo live happily ever after, or so the storybook says.

The principals in "La Perichole" are probably the brightest of the younger singers on the Metropolitan's roster. The title role was sung by Teresa Stratas, petite, vivacious with a gorgeously flexible and lilting soprano and as accomplished an actress as she is a singer. The role of her lover, Paquillo, was sung by baritone Theodor Uppman. His voice is clear, strong, and beautifully managed. His diction is impeccable and he is young, volatile and accomplished as an actor.

Yet as fine as these two are, they were nearly thrown into the background by the third principal, who is no singer at all, Cyril Ritchard as the Viceroy. Ritchard has long been known as one of today's finest comic actors and has appeared in several Broadway hits. But he is also a great director and, in fact, staged and directed this work. It is easy to see his master hand here, in the varied pacing of the work, in the bits of comic business, in its complete use of the best in theatricality. Even the ballet - and the Metropolitan is not noted for its corps de ballet - seemed fresh and far better than usual in this production.

The whole thing was sung in English. This added to the enjoyment of the audience which, as expected at an opera not generally known to the public, did not quite fill the auditorium. But those who did come out saw the week's finest production. A large cast is employed and not all can be named. But so infectious is the gaiety of the whole thing that one cannot remember anyone falling short.

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