OP1156. LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Live Performance, 5 Dec., 1964, w.Varviso Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Joan Sutherland, Sándor Kónya, Nicola Herlea, etc.; Lucia – Extended Excerpts, 19 Feb., 1966 – Varviso Cond. Roberta Peters, Sándor Kónya, Frank Guarrera, Justino Diaz, etc. (Portugal) 3–Gala 100.614. Final Copy! - 8712177037469
“...Sutherland is much what she would be for the next quarter-century: the finest vocal technician of her time….her vocalism is wondrous to the ear; to this day, it remains unchallenged in terms of security and reliability. She commands admiration.”
- Paul Jackson, SIGN-OFF FOR THE OLD MET, p.391
"In her own time, there was a tendency to take Sutherland for granted, so consistent were her high standards of technique, musicianship and, yes, acting. Her total command of the stage was always formidable. No recording can really give an impression of how big the voice was….it had an astonishing and physically thrilling impact."
- Patrick O’Connor, GRAMOPHONE, Jan., 2007
“Mr. Kónya had a powerful, dramatic voice and was most highly regarded as a Wagnerian tenor. But his broad repertory also included several of the major Verdi and Puccini rôles, as well as Edgardo in Donizetti's LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and Turiddu in Mascagni's CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA. Although his Wagner was criticized by some for embodying an Italianate sob, Mr. Kónya's admirers prized exactly that tendency toward stylistic cross-pollination. Just as he brought the emotional lyricism of Italian opera to Germanic rôles, he sang Italian rôles with the big, heroic sound more typically heard in German works.
Mr. Kónya was born in Sarkad, Hungary, on 23 Sept. 23, and studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, as well as in Milan and at the Music Academy of Detmold, in northwestern Germany. In 1951 he made his professional début as Turiddu at the Bielefeld Opera. He remained on the company's roster for three years, during which he expanded his repertory, both in grand opera and in lighter rôles.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 6 June, 2002
“Nicolae Herlea is a Romanian operatic baritone, particularly associated with the Italian repertory, especially the role of Rossini's Figaro, which he sang around 550 times during his career. He studied at the Bucharest Music Conservatory with Aurelius Costescu-Duca, and later at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Giorgio Favaretto. In 1951, he won first prizes in international singing contests in Geneva, Prague, and Brussels. He made his stage début that same year at the National Opera of Bucharest as Silvio in PAGLIACCI, quickly establishing himself as the principal baritone there.
In 1958, he began appearing abroad, particularly at the Bolshoi in Moscow, to where he regularly returned. He also made guest appearances at London's Royal Opera House (1961), La Scala in Milan (1963) and the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1964–67), and also performed at the Liceo in Barcelona, the Berlin Staatsoper, the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, La Monnaie in Brussels, and in the opera houses of Prague and Budapest. Herlea also had a successful career in the concert-hall. Now retired, he gives masterclasses at the Bucharest Conservatory.”
“Justino Díaz is a Puerto Rican operatic bass-baritone. In 1963, Díaz won an annual contest held at the Metropolitan Opera of New York, becoming the first Puerto Rican to obtain such an honor. On 29 March, 1963, Díaz won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, becoming the ‘first’ Puerto Rican to obtain such an honor. As a consequence, Díaz made his Metropolitan début on October 1963 in Verdi's Rigoletto as Monterone. Among the opera houses in which Díaz has made presentations are La Scala, Paris Opéra, Vienna Staatsoper, Salzburg, New York City Opera, Spoleto Opera, Rome Opera, The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Zarzuela Theater of Madrid, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu and others. In 1966 he helped to inaugurate the new MetropolitanOpera House at Lincoln Center by starring in the opening night performance of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by Samuel Barber.”
- Z. D. Akron