Harold C. Schonberg in The New York Times:

There was screaming Tuesday night at the Metropolitan Opera and for once it did not come from the stage. The eagerly awaited debut of Marilyn Horne in Bellini’s “Norma,” singing opposite Joan Sutherland, in a new production, was the stimulus.

After each aria and ensemble of those two thoroughbreds, Sutherland and Horne, the house erupted. Miss Horne, at the end of the third act (the two acts of “Norma” have been divided into four), received a standing ovation. People just stood, applauding and yelling. Miss Sutherland got the same treatment after the fourth act. . . .

Miss Sutherland has always been stimulated to special efforts when Miss Horne is working with her,. and thOse two women provide a team unique in the bel canto literature as practiced today.

Miss Horne has many of Miss Sutherland’s attributes, with several pluses and one maws. Her big, strong, securely produced voice does not have the sensuous sheen of Sutherland’s. But she is a better musician, has better diction, sings with better rhythm and clearer shape to the phrase, and has a wider compass. Miss Sutherland is not happy with low notes. Miss Home, a mezzo?soprano, has the low, notes together with the top of a dramatic soprano. She is a potential Brunnhilde.

She comes to the Metropolitan Opera in her vocal prime, and she was in complete authority—even dramatic authority, though, like Miss Sutherland, she is an actress who uses old?fashioned gestures and movements. She made her entrance with a pianissimo that carried through the house, and as the opera progressed she was most careful to portray Adalgisa as a woman and not a singing machine.

Her low notes for this occasion were more in relation to her scale than they had been at her concert with the New Jersey Symphony last month, and she saved the vocal fireworks for the appropriate moments. Miss Horne, too, inserted cadenzas here and there, but always with taste.

On this day in 1875 Bizet’s Carmen had its disastrous premiere at the Opera Comique in Paris.

Birthday anniversaries of composer Federico Moreno Torroba (1891), soprano Margarete Teschemacher (1903), bass Miroslav Cangalovic (1921) and tenors Hermann Winkler (1924) and Robert Nagy (1929).

Happy 85th birthday soprano Rachel Yakar.

Happy 79th birthday mezzo-soprano Florence Quivar.

Happy 74th birthday soprano Roberta Alexander.

Happy 58th birthday soprano Christine Schäfer.