[Met Tour] CID:225630

Masonic Temple Auditorium, Detroit, Michigan, Fri, May 28, 1971

Review 1:

Review of Collins George in the Detroit Free Press

Singing of Fine Principals Makes 'Aida' a Big Triumph

The all-time favorite spectacle of opera-lovers, Verdi's "Aida," was sung splendidly Friday at the Masonic Auditorium. Not that there was anything new to the production. It is the same one which the Metropolitan Opera has taken on tour and brought to Detroit many times before.

Of principals in it, which makes an opera out of what otherwise would be just another rich pageant, foremost in the presentation Friday was Martina Arroyo in the title role, the first time Detroiters have had a chance to hear her in this work. She turns out to be an excellent Aida. She has a voice of great dramatic ability, one of amazing purity and control. Needing perhaps a little greater projection in her lowest chest tones, she is absolutely flawless otherwise. It is a sensuous pleasure to sit back and let the waves of sound that she produces engulf you.

Frank Corelli, who has often been the Radames here, sang the part again this night. A little uneasy in the romantic French role of "Werther" on {the first] night, he was right at home here. He could pull out all the stops in his vocal production and let himself go in the Italian manner which is so natural to him. And, believe me, he did so.

Irene Dalis was in fine voice for the role of Amneris, expressing her passion in a dark-hued voice so suitable for the part. Even the slightly lesser roles of Amonasro, Aida's father, and Ramfis, the High Priest, were drawn from the finest of the company's singers, Mario Sereni and Cesare Siepi, respectively. Siepi, incidentally, was Tuesday night's Don Giovanni. The acting was stylized and rather semaphoric but that doesn't matter in "Aida." All that counts is the ability to sing, as arias, duets and larger ensemble numbers follow hard upon each other.

There is quite a bit of ballet in the work, especially in the first and second acts. It was all choreographed several years ago by Katherine Dunham and seems to conflict a bit with the general style of the work. But it is always lively and exciting and adds especially to the already rich tapestry of the triumphal scene. It is impossible to come' away from any performance of "Aida" without the sense of enjoyment that one gets from any spectacle. It is an added pleasure when fine singing is also added to that spectacle.

On the Metropolitan's final day here Saturday, two productions will be performed, Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," at 1:30 p.m. and Verdi's "Rigoletto," at 8 p.m.

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