Virgil Thomson within the Herald Tribune:
Verdi’s “Aida,” newly adorned and clothed and newly forged, gave to final night time’s opening efficiency of the Metropolitan Opera a spectacle and a musical efficiency of bizarre distinction. All people had a phenomenal voice and sang handsomely. The units and costumes have been energetic in coloration 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, the entire top notch. 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 yr, as Rhadames.
Miss Nikolaidi has a strong alto voice of wide selection and high-quality readability. She sang handsomely and always on pitch, She additionally appeared properly. Zinka Milanov, the Aida, one in all right now’s most lovely, soprano voices, additionally sang elegantly and, in smooth passages, ever so sweetly. She was totally on pitch, and she or he appeared properly within the third act. The earlier costuming had made her look older and bigger than appeared fairly essential. Each women have been ecstatically satisfying within the ensemble passages, of which this opera incorporates 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 wide selection, one of many purest tenor voices these days encountered. Final night time he largely sang loud, however in just a few passages he confirmed that he may also sing softly and that he has some coloration variation at his command. Dealt with with intelligence, he may change into a terrific tenor star n the grand model. He has the voice for it.
George London is already a terrific barytone star within the grand method. Fantastic thing about voice, perfection of musical model and a stage energy, each by private presence and by dramatic ability, of the very top notch are his. Final night time he took his place among the many biggest 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 appears to be like flimsy, but it surely makes a harmonious ensemble of coloration 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 transport docks has given a much less pleased end result. It’s tremendously good-looking, with its nice ships prow and draped sails, but it surely fails to clarify what a lot royalty is doing in these slummy purlieus. And it straight 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 fantastic thing about Janet Collins, provided solely anachronism, sexual triviality and unskilled execution.
However these final are minor issues. The brand new ‘Aida” is surprisingly agreeable to have a look at and, for the ear, it’s ravishing.
Birthday anniversaries of writer and poet Robert Louis Stevenson (1850) and librettist and composer John La Touche (1914).
On at the present time in 1965 the musical Skyscraper opened on Broadway.
Picture: Sedge LeBlang/Metropolitan Opera.