Happy 66th birthday soprano Cheryl Studer.
On this day in 1961 soprano Teresa Stich-Randall and tenor George Shirley made their Metropolitan Opera debuts in Così fan tutte.
Robert Sabin in Musical America:
Teresa Stich-Randall, who has acquired a formidable reputation in Europe as well as at home, at last reached the stage of the Metropolitan in this performance. I do not think that any singer would choose the role of Fiordiligi for a debut, but Miss Stich-Randall sang it very beautifully indeed and proved herself a true Mozartean in the ensembles (which are always the acid test in his operas).
The voice is curious. At times it seems artificially produced, as if she were carefully imitating the instrumental quality of the great sopranos of the Golden Age on old phonograph recordings. Then again, it seems to emerge unmannered and spontaneous. The high tones are extraordinarily brilliant; the lower range less rounded and full. All sopranos have difficulties with Mozart’s impossible arias in this work, which were written in a parodistic spirit, anyway. But many of Miss Stich-Randall’s phrases were of memorable silvery luster.
George Shirley made an unexpected debut as Ferrando, substituting for Charles Anthony, who was indisposed. He confirmed the excellent impression he had made earlier in the season with the New York City Opera. Here is a sensitive musician, an expert actor and an intelligent artist who approaches every assignment with taste and resourceful technique. His voice may not be sensational, but his artistry is.