21 FEBRUARY 1964, Page 22


S.112,—No one would have guessed from your Opera Correspondent's notice of the recent Covent Garden production of Rigoletto what a splendidly enjoyable evening of theatre this provided. Of course, the two finest singers in the world, Callas and Gobbi, would have added to the enjoyment, but to carp at what was an incomparably better than routine perform- ance musically seems less than generous. Anna Moffo's Gilda was beautifully sung and if she must bow to Callas's dramatic power, what soprano does not? Peter Glossop's Rigoletto must have been one of the finest performances by an understudy in oper- atic history and many people in the house felt that they were witnessing the emergence of a great singer rather than 'a crude, brutally externalised, unmoving' characterisation.

Can it be that we are being spoiled by Zeffirelli's magnificent productions? Ten years ago this would have received universal 'rave' notices, now it is praised only with faint damns. Judging by the reaction of the audience, however, the jade is only on the critics. It is a pity that we do not have critics who are still moved by such a fine performance of one of the world's greatest operas.


608 Endsleigh Court, Upper Woburn Place, WCI