Donal Henahan in The New York Occasions:
For the final couple of a long time … Mr. Zeffirelli’s curiosity in opera has centered across the superficial and the trivial. As his new Metropolitan manufacturing of ”La Traviata” confirmed conclusively on Monday night, he’s most charitably considered these days as a clothier and inside decorator quite than an opera director.
His staging of Verdi’s sentimental masterpiece proved to be one other in his Met collection of overdressed, overproduced carnivals (from ”Antony and Cleopatra” to ”Turandot,” ”Otello,” ”La Boheme” and ”Tosca”) through which all theatrical values aside from the visible turn into secondary. Even the polished and scrupulously detailed conducting of Carlos Kleiber couldn’t carry this ”Traviata” a lot under the sensuous floor. Nor did the routinely vocalized, dramatically obtuse performances of the 2 principal singers, Edita Gruberova as Violetta and Neil Shicoff as Alfredo, provide compensation. The outcome was a tasteless, antimusical ”Traviata” that seldom ventured close to the expressive core of the work: at its greatest merely an eyeful, at its worst, heartless.
Born on this present day in 1962 baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
On this present day in 1972 conductor Henry Lewis made his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting La bohème on what was his fortieth birthday.
Birthday anniversaries of writers Oscar Wilde (1854) and Eugene O’Neill (1888); bass Guus Hoekman and baritone Gino Bechi (each in 1913); and mezzo-soprano Margreta Elkins (1930ish).
Photograph: Winnie Klotz