Robert Sabin in Musical America:
Gloria Davy, young American soprano, made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of “Aida” at this performance. Like so many leading singers at the Metropolitan these days, Miss Davy is a native New Yorker. In 1951 she won a Marian Anderson scholarship award. She had sung the role of Aida in Nice, France, and was heard in excerpts from the opera last summer at the Lewisohn Stadium. More recently, she had made a brilliant impression in the title role of Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” in a concert performance with the American Opera Society.
She has a very beautiful voice and emotional vitality on the stage, but Aida was not a happy choice for her Metropolitan debut. Her voice is lighter and more lyric in cast than the sort of voice that this heavy dramatic role demands; and, sincere as it was, her acting lacked the surety and impact to make her performance wholly convincing.
In those soaring phrases which are supposed to cut through the massive ensembles Miss Davy was at a disadvantage, as she was in that unforgettable exposed passage in the triumphal scene, Act II, Scene 2, on the word “colpir,” when Aida suddenly has to carry forward the full surge of a climax and lead it into a pianissimo. The weight of tone and bravura were simply not there. But in the Nile scene and elsewhere she sang so persuasively that one looks forward eagerly to hearing her in other roles. Her costumes were very becoming, though they looked a bit too much like fashionable evening gowns. The audience gave her a hearty ovation.
Born on this day in 1923 director and designer Franco Zeffirelli.
Birthday anniversaries of composer Licinio Refice (1883), soprano Anny Konetzni (1902), baritones Todd Duncan (1903) and Yevbeny Kibkalo (1932).
Birthday greetings to soprano Gilda Cruz-Romo (83); bass Paata Burchuladze (68); Anthony Dean Griffey (56).