[Met Performance] CID:100200
La Bohème {256} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/14/1928.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 14, 1928


LA BOHÈME {256}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Mimì....................Frances Alda
Rodolfo.................Beniamino Gigli
Musetta.................Nannette Guilford
Marcello................Antonio Scotti
Schaunard...............Adamo Didur
Colline.................Ezio Pinza
Benoit..................Paolo Ananian
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Giordano Paltrinieri
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

Director................Armando Agnini
Costume designer........Blaschke & Cie

La Bohème received seven performances this season.

Review of Charles D. Isaacson in the New York Telegraph

'LA BOHÈME' WINS APPRECIATION OF LARGE AUDIENCE

Frances Alda Delights Greatest Crowd of Year at the "Met"

An attic in Paris, in winter, and four ambitious young men hoping to burn up the world making a feast on herring and pretending that their homely rooms are the Palace of the King."La Bohème" it is, of course - Puccini's fascinating opera of Murger's "Life of Bohemia." For the first time this season the tragedy of Rudolph and his Mimi, Marcello and his Musette, was produced at the Metropolitan Opera Company, and the popularity of the piece was attested to by one of the largest mobs of standees so far this season, much larger than the crowds at "Egyptian Helen" or "Aida."

Scenes Are Refreshing

The melodies of the four bosom friends, the noise of the carnival, the pitiful tragedy of the sickly Mimi, the vixenish tricks of the coquettish Musette, all delighted the crowd, happy at seeing again the old and refreshing scenes, and hearing once more the tunes which are as popular with them as the latest jazz ditties on Broadway.

Mme. Alda made an appealing Mimi. Her first notes behind the garret door were remarkably pure and lyrical. Also "They Call Me Mimi" was tender and sincere. Mme. Alda's work at her best is among the finer examples of lyric sopranos at the Opera House, and strangely enough she looks this part.

Gigli Misses the Spirit

For us, therefore, we recommend frequent appearances of Frances Alda in "La Bohème." Gigli, as Rodolfo, the lover of Mimi, was in glorious voice and gave us his high and ringing tones, aplenty. He hung on to his long top notes until it seemed he would never give them up. But he did not act well at all. He walked lazily through the role. Thus, when the rest of the Bohemians seemed to belong to the attic and its pranks, Gigli was a tenor who had arias, duets, and ensemble music to sing. He did not catch the spirit of Scotti, and Didur and Pinza, or the spirit of Alda, of Guilford, or Malatesta, of Paltrinieri.

The role of Musette fell to the pretty Nanette Guilford, who surely cannot complain that she is being slighted in her opportunities. As was to be expected, Miss Guilford looked the giddy and fickle lady of the boulevards. The singing was good, but the young New York girl was not at her best.

Scotti Excells

The rest of the four Bohemians of the Paris garret were in good spirit and fairly worthy voice. Scotti was good as the painter Marcello, as were Messrs. Didur and Pinza; Malatesta, as the gay lover of Musette, was a very old dog of a dude, Paltrinieri and Ananian also were of the fair cast.

I do not believe this was really Mr. Bellezza's fault. It was one of those off nights, when nobody could be accused of the fault. But getting together was never effected. The community spirit was missing.



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