[Met Performance] CID:267200

Luisa Miller
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, January 11, 1982

Luisa Miller (44)
Giuseppe Verdi | Salvadore Cammarano
Katia Ricciarelli

José Carreras

Leo Nucci

Count Walter
Paul Plishka

John Cheek

Bianca Berini

Claudia Catania

Lou Marcella

Nello Santi

Nathaniel Merrill

Set Designer
Attilio Colonnello

Costume Designer
Charles Caine

Thomas Andrew

Stage Director
Paul Mills

Luisa Miller received six performances this season.

Review 1:

Byron Belt for the Newhouse Papers
Verdi and Met Not at Best

To leave Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 89-degree sun to return to our current frigid state is bad enough, but to face a dreary Met revival of Giuseppe Verdi's Luisa Miller" compounded discomfort considerably.

"Luisa Miller" is, at most, minor Verdi, and it has special problems of dramatic cogency totally destroyed by the Met's oversized Attilio Colonello production that dwarfs whatever human values the opera contains in one of the most convoluted plots in all of opera. Add to the visual distractions a recalcitrant curtain that created problems where none was needed, an offstage basso warming up very audibly, and this generating audience titters, a cast change announced in the most affected of British voices, and the audience had every right to feel that it was amateur night at some provincial European opera house, and not the great Met.

The cast change probably made many wish they had not braved the cold. Today's super-hyped superstar, Luciano Pavarotti, had been the prime reason for restoring Verdi's limp opus, but he was indisposed, and it was handsome José Carreras who got to sing the opera's one hit tune, "Quando le sere al placido," without generating much excitement in the subdued crowd.

Carreras has clearly done considerable damage to his lovely lyric tenor by forcing it into dramatic tenor repertory, and he managed only intermittently to remind us just how beautifully he sang at the time of his City Opera debut a decade back.

Katia Ricciarelli's Luisa was beautiful to behold, and occasionally pleasant to hear but she, too, has been stretching, a basically gorgeous voice beyond its logical limits, so it was impossible just to relax and enjoy her musical and dramatic performance in comfort.

The finest singing, as is often the case when he appears, came from Paul Plishka, the warming- up basso whose Count Walter reminded us just how grand Verdi can sound, even at less than his inspired best.

John Cheek's Wurm and Leo Nucti's Miller were routinely acceptable and Bianca Berini’s Federica was superior, as were Claudia Cantania and Luigi Marcella in supporting roles.

The Verdian star was conductor Nello Santi, who secured warm orchestral playing and led David Stivender's chorus in a few rousing moments, but neither Verdi nor the Met appeared at their best in this most unnecessary of recent revivals. Here's hoping for better luck when Leontyne Price, makes a welcome return in Verdi's "Il Trovatore" on Friday.

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