Massenet : La Navarraise

Director: Robert Lawrence


  • Rita Gorr (Anita)
  • George Shirley (Araquil)
  • Fernando Corena (Garrido)
  • Raymond Michalski (Remigio)

To Rita Gorr, 1963 was a great year. This voice was one of those forces of nature, magnetic more for her larger-than-life portrayals than for conventional beauty. There was an AIDA that year when Gorr inhabited the role of Amneris, pitted against Price’s priceless assumption of the title role. Corelli, if I remember rightly, was to have been her Radames but was ailing and in substitution, they asked Jess Thomas to perform even though he knew the role only in German at the time. As I remember it, this was an evening of unusual excellence.

Later in the year, Gorr was Herodias in Massenet’s HERODIADE, her colleagues in this concert-styled performance in Carnegie Hall being Regine Crespin, Guy Chauvet and Rober Massard, conducted by Alain Lombard. The opera itself may not be one of Massenet’s very best, arguably at least, but it was surely nuanced in a style that might be hard to duplicate today.

LA NAVARRAISE by Massenet was performed in Carnegie Hall, again in concertized format. It was the main draw after the single intermission, with Gorr as well as George Shirley and Fernando Corena in the leading parts.