Virgil Thomson within the Herald Tribune:
Verdi’s “Aida,” newly embellished and clothed and newly forged, gave to final evening’s opening efficiency of the Metropolitan Opera a spectacle and a musical efficiency of surprising distinction. All people had a lovely voice and sang handsomely. The units and costumes have been vigorous in colour and for probably the most half advantageously designed each for motion and for music. The staging was clear, shipshape. And the event was ornamented by two Metropolitan debuts and one close to debut, all the first-class. These have been the appearances of Elena Nikolaidi as Arrineris, of George London as Amonasro and of Mario del Monaco, who had sung simply as soon as final 12 months, as Rhadames.
Miss Nikolaidi has a strong alto voice of big selection and high-quality readability. She sang handsomely and always on pitch, She additionally regarded nicely. Zinka Milanov, the Aida, one in every of at this time’s most lovely, soprano voices, additionally sang elegantly and, in delicate passages, ever so sweetly. She was totally on pitch, and she or he regarded nicely within the third act. The earlier costuming had made her look older and bigger than appeared fairly obligatory. Each girls have been ecstatically satisfying within the ensemble passages, of which this opera accommodates many. And Lucine Amara sounded charming because the invisible priestess.
Mario del Monaco is a slenderish younger man with a really massive voice. It’s a strong however not coarse tenor of nice vibrancy and big selection, one of many purest tenor voices recently encountered. Final evening he principally sang loud, however in just a few passages he confirmed that he may also sing softly and that he has some colour variation at his command. Dealt with with intelligence, he would possibly change into an amazing tenor star n the grand type. He has the voice for it.
George London is already an amazing barytone star within the grand method. Fantastic thing about voice, perfection of musical type and a stage energy, each by private presence and by dramatic ability, of the very first-class are his. Final evening he took his place among the many best singing actors now we have any of us recognized or remembered, and he did it with out seeming effort or immodesty, so naturally authoritative have been his presence and his artwork.
The brand new surroundings by Rolf Gerard seems flimsy, nevertheless it makes a harmonious ensemble of colour with the costumes; and the general public sq. the place the triumphal march takes place is most ingeniously organized on a wide range of ranges which, for as soon as, assist out the music. Topless towers half conceal the additional brass gamers right here required with out interfering with their brilliance of sound. And steep steps give each quantity and brightness to the refrain standing on them. On account of this efficient association, the finale of this act was unusually spectacular in quantity with out at any time sounding strident.
Setting the banks-of-the-Nile scene on the delivery docks has given a much less joyful consequence. It’s tremendously good-looking, with its nice ships prow and draped sails, nevertheless it fails to clarify what a lot royalty is doing in these slummy purlieus. And it immediately contradicts the music, which is all pastoral and stuffed with birds. One other fault of style appeared to this observer to lie within the ballets, which save for the non-public great thing about Janet Collins, supplied solely anachronism, sexual triviality and unskilled execution.
However these final are minor issues. The brand new ‘Aida” is surprisingly agreeable to take a look at and, for the ear, it’s ravishing.
Birthday anniversaries of creator and poet Robert Louis Stevenson (1850) and librettist and composer John La Touche (1914).
On today in 1965 the musical Skyscraper opened on Broadway.
Photograph: Sedge LeBlang/Metropolitan Opera.