Michael Redmond in the Newark Star-Ledger:
It was an event as much as a performance, and the stuff of the legend of which the Met is made.
For weeks now, the most important question on the opera scene has been, ‘Will Caballe actually sing?” It is a measure of her stature as “the last of the prima donnas,” as Caballe has been called, that this engagement could so dominate everybody’s attention. It remains to be said that yes, she did sing, and gloriously.
The secondary question has been. “How will Pavarotti sound?” The tenor’s appearances at the Met have grown increasingly rare in recent seasons, and some reports from abroad have not been particularly flattering.
Yet the tenor sounded as magnificent as ever Monday night, with a performance of “E lucevan le stelle” as fine as this reviewer has ever heard, or is likely to. It came close to eclipsing Caballe’s “Vissi d’arte,” which is some feat.
Together, in Act III especially, Caballe and Pavarotti delivered the kind of singing that gives one some idea of what the Golden Age was all about. Electrifying, incandescent, heart-on-the-sleeve singing, with nothing held back.
Born on this day in 1907 bass Nicola Moscona and soprano Jarmila Novotná.
Birthday anniversaries of librettists Carlos Fernández Shaw (1865) and Montagu Slater (1902); tenors Sándor Kónya (1923) and Spas Wenkoff (1928).
Photo: James Heffernan / Metropolitan Opera