Was this revival of the Met’s 1977 Prophète the last US star-driven Meyerbeer staging? I know that a small Dinorah was done here not so long ago, and Bard Summerscape did mount Les Huguenots in 2009 but Erin Morley and Michael Spyres, its Marguerite and Raoul, were not all that well-known then. I did suffer through an Opera Orchestra of New York concert of L’Africaine in 2011. The friend with whom I attended (who never walks out of anything) fled at the intermission irritated by the campy excesses of Chiara Taigi. I remained and thought Marcello Giordani tried his best.

Horne was not in the best of health during the opera’s first Met run so that broadcast could have been better. In addition, some might argue that Shane is more appropriate casting than the late Renata Scotto and French tenor Chauvet superior to James McCracken, both on the broadcast and the CBS recording.

Horne’s five-performance run of Orfeo featured two Euridices and two Amores (the others were Lilian Sukis and Colette Boky, respectively). I’m grateful that the surviving recording features Maliponte (in her first Met Orfeo) and Blegen.

While Prophète and Orfeo were the only Met joint-ventures by Horne and Mackerras, they worked together more extensively on Handel’s Orlando which they performed in concert in New York, as well as in staged productions in Chicago, San Francisco and Venice.

I’ve been told that Leon Botstein announced a production of Le Prophète for next year’s Bard Summerscape.

Meyerbeer: Le Prophète

Berthe: Rita Shane
Fidès: Marilyn Horne
Jean of Leyden: Guy Chauvet
Zacharie: Jerome Hines
Jonas: Charles Anthony
Mathisen: Robert Goodloe
Count Oberthal: Morley Meredith

Conductor: Charles Mackerras

Metropolitan Opera
3 October 1979
In-house recording

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

Orfeo: Marilyn Horne
Euridice: Adriana Maliponte
Amore: Judith Blegen

Conductor: Charles Mackerras

Metropolitan Opera
21 November 1972
In -house recording

Both Horne operas can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.