This recording is by me (Robert Jr.) at 13..using a small cassette recorder with a mic
up my sleeve.
It is very poor quality, but I've cleaned it up using modern digital
technology as best it can be.
The location is
New York City Opera. Dad was moonlighting- with permission- across the
This is the last few minutes of the last act of Boito's Mephistofeles. For
my money Boito, Verdi's librettist,
matched or out-did his employer in every department on "Mefisto". I love
other operas, but Mefisto is "it" for me. The recurring melody line is
woven through like rich Italian musical upholstery fabric. The giant
choir, the overwhelming bass/devil character, super-opulent sets,
utter human decadence and timeless story of the fight for man's very
soul...it's a knockout. It is what you go to see opera for. Its sewn up in
these last few minutes with a high-blood pressure inducing sensory
crescendo - via the alternation of Tenor and Bass....orchestra and then
choir coming in and finishing you off.
The sirens of hell are one of the last things you hear. Its Hair-raising.
You walk out transcended.
Dad's voice is un-apologetically American sounding. You never for a
minute doubt that it will
sink under this giant swell of literally hundreds of other musicians and
voices. It cuts through like a
well-tempered sword... not strained -but confident - and with it's
emotional appeal in-tact -even at
Most companies won't dare mount Mefisto because of the requirements. It is
just too expensive. NYC opera dared a totally modern production in 1969.
Norman Treigle was the devil/bass...and was up to the task in spades.
Rear-projection scrims, lots of dry-ice, a mammoth choir..and of course "one of the loudest voices ever heard on the Met stage"- Robert Nagy in the tenor
slot as Faust.
Excuse my enthusiasm....take a
Robert Nagy Jr.
Hot Springs, AR.