[Met Performance] CID:271360

Adriana Lecouvreur
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, January 22, 1983

Adriana Lecouvreur (44)
Francesco Cilea | Arturo Colautti
Adriana Lecouvreur
Renata Scotto

Neil Shicoff

Princess di Bouillon
Viorica Cortez

Louis Quilico

Ara Berberian

Anthony Laciura

Louise Wohlafka

Isola Jones

Barbara Greene

Paul Franke

Andrij Dobriansky

Donald Peck

Deanne Lay

Pauline Andrey

Della Weinheimer

Gary Cordial

Sam Cardea

Thomas Fulton

Review 1:

Review of Bill Zackariasen in the Daily News

Met's 'Adriana' takes a thrashing

Francesco Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvreur" is one of those fragile operas that must be given the best performance conceivable to succeed - merely the best performance possible usually won't do. The Metropolitan Opera's current revival of "Adriana" - as seen Saturday night - was by and large not ever up to what is possible according to present-day standards. Once again, the Met has handed fodder to the verismo school's nay-sayers on a silver platter.

The Met has kept the impressive Cristini-Paravacini sets more or less intact, but the long-admired, lovingly-detailed staging of Nathaniel Merrill has been replaced in favor of new direction by the well-known Italian actor, Raf Vallone. Considering how he trashed this once-beautiful show, Vallone should return to making gangster movies.

Look at Act I: Instead of the hustle and bustle of the Comedic Francaise backstage, the company is apparently on a tour of the boondocks. The populous dramatis personae - each of whom formerly had specific characterizations - is now a mere backdrop - nothing is there to take one's mind off Cilea's threadbare music. In addition, Vallone's staging is replete with gaffes - such as Adriana, supposedly coming from her dressing-room, making her entrance from the loges, and the director Michonnet mooning over Adriana's monologue, not from the wings, but in an upstage position from where he couldn't possibly see it. Such bloopers, too numerous to mention here, infect every scene with baleful regularity.

It's not surprising that Renata Scotto's voice has deteriorated markedly since she last sang Adriana here five years ago - an oscillating beat afflicted virtually every note sung above a piano - but, in addition, she merely presented a generalized, two-dimensional characterization, played with more mannerisms than manners. Mezzo Viorica Cortez was downright unspeakable as the Princess de Bouillon - baloney was more like it, what with her raspy, booty and wobbly vocalism and frumpy stage demeanor.

Though he mixed up his words in his [beginning] aria "La dolcissime effige," tenor Neil Shicoff sang a most pleasurable Maurizio, notable for vocal brilliance and ease, as well as a carriage of admirable ardor. Shicoff is one of those rare operatic artists who relates, not only to his audience, but to his colleagues on stage 100%,

Though obviously at a dramatic disadvantage, baritone Louis Quilico gave a warmly-characterized, richly-vocalized performance as Michonnet. Three singers shone in smaller roles-Ara Berberian (who played the cuckolded prince as if he masochistically enjoyed his predicament), Anthony Laciura (the unctuous Abbe de Chazeuil) and Paul Franke (the jolly Poisson). Donald Mahler's choreography for the Judgment of Paris scene didn't erase memories of Alexandra Danilova's 1963 original, but it was attractive, well-organized and more than respectably danced. Thomas Fulton's conducting was pretty timid most of the way.

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