[Met Performance] CID:101850
La Bohème {261} Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, Brooklyn: 03/12/1929.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
March 12, 1929


LA BOHÈME {261}

Mimì....................Editha Fleischer
Rodolfo.................Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Musetta.................Thalia Sabanieeva
Marcello................Lawrence Tibbett
Schaunard...............Millo Picco
Colline.................Pavel Ludikar
Benoit..................Pompilio Malatesta
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Max Altglass
Sergeant................Giuseppe Cottino

Conductor...............Giuseppe Bamboschek

Review of Harold A. Strickland in the Brooklyn Daily Times

A NEW MIMI

The number of Bohemian quarter sewing girls in the Metropolitan Opera Company was increased by one last night when Editha Fleischer made her debut as Mimi in Puccini's familiar setting of the Parisian tale. The work was presented at the Academy of Music as the eleventh in the series of twelve performances planned for this borough this season. Due to the "indisposition" of Nanette Guilford, a new Musetta appeared in the form of Thalia Sabanieeva. General Manager Gatti-Casazza also sent some new Bohemians here and Giuseppe Bamboschek made his second visit of the current period to conduct.

In the role usually identified with Antonio Scotti there appeared, last night, Lawrence Tibbett. The American baritone lacks much of the finesse and polish which years of experience have given to the Italian, but Mr. Tibbett made up for this with some excellent vocal displays. Giacomo Lauri-Volpi was again the poet of the quartet, singing in good form and making the most of the passages wherein his strong and lusty tenor could be best heard to advantage. Pavel Ludikar was the Colline, with Millo Picco as the Schaunard. The newcomers seemed more adaptable to their assignments than the veterans who are usually heard in these roles.

Mr. Malatesta again doubled, appearing as Benoit and also as the Alcindoro, both of which are thoroughly familiar to him, while Max Altglass and Giuseppe Cottino had minor bits. Miss Fleischer was in good voice last night and met Mr. Volpi on equal ground whenever this ambitious tenor decided to put on full pressure. The expected rough spots which accompany a debut were present and the young soprano seemed not entirely at home, but Miss Fleischer is first an actress to whom the stage is no novelty and who uses her lyric voice as an accompaniment to histrionics. Her Mimi lacks the vivacity of some others and this is strange in view of the fact that she is more at home in soubrette roles. The Teutonic soprano reads Mini as a waif of the Latin Quarter, hoping for the best, but naïve and unsophisticated in everything she does, a creature seeking something, but not knowing what that something is. She looks on the gaiety of these Bohemians as a spectator and is not entirely cognizant of their point of view. But she is genuinely in love with Rodolfo even when absent from him.

In other words Miss Fleischer differs from the usual type Mimi who hitherto has been a creature of and a participant in the life and activities of this section of Paris. And she uses her voice differently as each new side of this life is revealed to her. There is a subtle change of vocal color in her every appearance and she is never a singer first and an actress some years later, but carefully blends the one into the other. This is characterization in a fine degree, but then Miss Fleischer has shown oftentimes in the past that this is a trait of hers. Would that she could pass it on to others. The familiar waltz of Musetta fell flat last night. Miss Sabanieva does "Butterfly" extremely well, but she cannot do this "Bohéme" role even adequately.

Mr. Bamboschek had his moments of excellent reading, and also those wherein noise conquered art. He set a lively, but even, pace and succeeded in having the work over early despite a late start. Sympathetic toward his singers, he nevertheless insisted that they follow his direction.



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