Raymond Ericson in The New York Occasions:
Gounod’s “Faust” introduced already 12 occasions in the course of the present season of the Metropolitan Opera Firm, supplied the automobile for 2 Met debuts this week-Spanish soprano Monserrat Caballe as Marguerite and American baritone Sherrill Milnes as Valentin.
Since Miss Caballe had created a sensation in live performance performances of opera right here, there was appreciable anticipation within the capability viewers as to how she would make out in a full-staged manufacturing, and the way her voice would sound in a home the dimensions of the Met. There was additionally hypothesis that the soprano, who had made her success right here in obscure Donizetti operas, may be miscast as Marguerite, though she has a repertory of big selection.
Because it turned out, it was not a super function for her, however when she was at her finest on this event, singing as superlatively as she had earlier than, there was little question that she belonged on the Met’s stage.
Mme. Caballe’s voice in all its pure loveliness projected superbly within the auditorium. The beautiful pianissimos, the fragile colorations of phrase, the gleaming excessive tones have been as a lot a delight to the ear as at all times.
There may be extra to the soprano’s singing than simply beautiful sounds. She is a musicianly singer and, instinctively no less than, a honest and tasteful actress, and she or he mixed these qualities in an interesting portrait of Marguerite. She is a plump girl, and her appears to be like weren’t helped by an unflattering blond wig, however she moved by means of her function with a changing into simplicity and an sincere expression of her emotional consciousness of the character she performed.
The soprano sang the “King of Thule” ballad with a haunting tone, however she didn’t have the technical glitter or animation to do justice to the Jewel Track. Her final excessive notice was pure gold, and the response of her listeners was such that the singer was just about pressured to show and bow her head to the viewers earlier than the demonstration ceased. Nevertheless, it was after that that she provided a few of her most elegant singing, the type that’s most attribute of her.
This was Mme Caballe’s solely look with the Met this season, and it’s virtually pointless to specific the want that she might be again subsequent year-and usually.
(Mme Caballe had already made her American operatic stage debut, singing the highest soprano function in “La Traviata” for the Dallas Civic Opera Firm in November.)
Milnes’s debut had its satisfactions, too. The 29-year-old baritone dealt with himself with aplomb, though Valentin will not be a job that permits a lot characterization. Extra to the purpose was the wealthy, contemporary sound of his voice, which rang out reassuringly in his aria within the Kermesse Scene.
Born on today in 1913 composer Benjamin Britten.
Glad sixtieth birthday soprano Sumi Jo.
On today premieres of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable in Paris (1831) and Pietro Mascagni’s Iris in Rome (1898).