[Met Performance] CID:247050

Le Nozze di Figaro
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, October 14, 1976

Debut : Leopold Hager, Maria Ewing, Phebe Berkowitz, Bruce Donnell

Le Nozze di Figaro (269)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Lorenzo Da Ponte
Justino Díaz

Judith Blegen

Count Almaviva
Richard Stilwell

Countess Almaviva
Evelyn Lear

Maria Ewing [Debut]

Dr. Bartolo
Andrew Foldi

Jean Kraft

Don Basilio
Andrea Velis

Andrij Dobriansky

Betsy Norden

Don Curzio
Nico Castel

Elyssa Lindner

Elvira Green

Leopold Hager [Debut]

Günther Rennert

Robert O'Hearn

Stage Director
Phebe Berkowitz [Debut]

Stage Director
Bruce Donnell [Debut]

Le Nozze di Figaro received eleven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Ron Eyer in the Daily News

A dignity that defines

Though the Mozart-da Ponte-Beaumarchais "Marriage of Figaro" is a social document (a political tract, if you will) masking as a comic opera, it commonly is presented as a simple farce about marital infidelity. Gunther Rennert's production, on view at the Met for the first time this season Thursday night, at least gives it a dignity that suggests 18th-century turmoil and impatience with the privilege of the gentry - in this case, the premarital rights of a lord with a virgin in his employ.

Figaro (beautifully articulated by Justino Diaz) remains uncowed by his master, Count Almaviva (admirably sung by Richard Stilwell). Nor is the Countess above conniving with her maid, Susanna - the object of her husband's lust - to bring about his exposure.

There were two newcomers to the house: conductor Leonard Hager, and Maria Ewing, who did a robust portrayal Cherubino. Pretty much confined vocally to two arias (including the famous "Voi, che sapete"), the mezzo from Detroit clearly merits a close inspection in deeper roles. Strong dramatic potential is there, and a voice - ample in size and capable of wide inflection - goes with it. Hager, closely identified with Mozart as a fellow Salzburger and present director there of the Mozarteum orchestra, respects his singers, and he holds to brisk tempos, which prevented the lags that sometime occur in the ensembles and in the moderately paced arias.

"Figaro" is, in fact, an ensemble opera, and Judith Blegen (Susanna), Evelyn Lear (Countess), Jean Kraft (Marcellina) and Andrea Velis (Don Basilio) fit well into the mold. There are no spectacular roles (only a couple of high Cs in the entire score), so no spectacular singers need apply (despite the Nordicas and the de Reszkes of the past). Neat, but not gaudy, workmanship is what counts - and that's what "Figaro" got Thursday night.

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