On this day in 1959 mezzo-soprano Giulietta Simionato made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Azucena.
Winthrop Sargeant in The New Yorker:
Such real brilliance as it had was due to the singing of Giulietta Simionato, an Italian mezzo-soprano (the designation is scarcely adequate, for she combines a rich contralto range with the agility and scope of a dramatic soprano) who was new to the company and who sang the role of Azucena with a degree of authority, power, and musical taste that I have not heard approached in this part since the days of the great Bruna Castagna. Miss Simionato – a small, round-faced woman with an intense stage personality that matches her extraordinary vocal gifts – presented Azucena not as the dishevelled hag standardized by tradition but as a vital, individualized character, whose seething search for vengeance is tempered by human and feminine traits. And her vocal contribution was so flawless, so easy in production, and so mature in its skill as to make her role the center around which the evening revolved, creating frequently that element of electric excitement that is found only in the presence of the most formidable artists.
Birthday anniversaries of sopranos Giuditta Pasta (1797) and Tiana Lemnitz (1897) and singer Mahalia Jackson (1911).