[Met Performance] CID:113100
La Bohème {295} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/9/1933.

(Debut: Eidé Norena

Metropolitan Opera House
February 9, 1933


Mimì....................Eidé Norena [Debut]
Rodolfo.................Giovanni Martinelli
Musetta.................Nina Morgana
Marcello................Armando Borgioli
Schaunard...............Claudio Frigerio
Colline.................Tancredi Pasero
Benoit..................Paolo Ananian
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Max Altglass
Sergeant................Carlo Coscia

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

Photograph of Eidé Norena as Mimì by Carlo Edwards

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

It is held to be a work of superfluous energy to make extended comment in these days on a performance of Puccini's "La Boheme," But the truth is that much comment could be made because the opera has fallen into a rut and needs something to draw it out. It is true that the worldwide depression has dealt a share to the Metropolitan Opera House, but some of the performances of standard operas have given much, assistance. It was therefore with hopeful interest that one went to the repetition of "La Boheme" last evening. There was to be a newly imported Norwegian prima donna as Mimi. The others in the cast were to be friends, some even more than that.

Mme. Eide Norena, the newcomer, without much ado or over-excitement, made herself welcome. Young persons who believe that the world began when they did will have no difficulty in convincing themselves that she takes rank with Sembrich and Melba as Mimi. which is an injustice to the lady, who made an excellent impression in her debut. She should not be compared with her predecessors, nor even with her contemporaries. She was a charming and sympathetic Mimi, who put grace, tenderness and even pathos into her impersonation. Her voice proved to be a lyric soprano of good quality and of substance-a voice possessing warmth and color as well as a nicely controlled range of dynamics.

It was a trying ordeal for the singer and there was not a perfect command in every phrase of her "Mi chiamano Mimi," but, in the third act she gave full value to every note in "Addio senza ran-core." Her singing throughout the scene of parting with Rodolfo was eloquent in feeling, and the audience was quick to respond to the delivery. Mme. Norena may be said to have placed a successful debut to her credit. What she will accomplish in the future cannot be predicted. It need only be said at present that her Mimi was praiseworthy.

Mr. Martinelli has been singing Rodolfo a long time at the Metropolitan. No tenor should be called a veteran, of course, and Mr. Martinelli shall not be so named here; but he is an old friend. He was in prodigal voice last night and he did not omit or curtail a single high tone in the score. What is better, he put a good deal of heart into his third act and helped Mme. Norena to give the scene verisimilitude. It would be a joy to say equally good things about the others in the cast, but the fact is that the cold weather seemed to have affected the company, Marcello was unquestionably a frozen asset, and there was nothing much to be learned about the recklessness and delights of a Bohemian life from the stodgy actions of this painter and his companions, Schaunard and Colline. Mme. Morgana was active as Musetta and sang her one song creditably, but she created no large illusion,

The doings in the square before the Cafe Momus were more or less mechanical. And they were not always in time with the music. But "La Boheme" has not enjoyed much good fortune of late. The injection of some fresh spirit into it by the Norwegian soprano was sadly needed. More could have been received with thanks by a large and very kindly audience. Mr. Belezza conducted. He was patient with Mme. Norena's ritardandi, which were sometimes more extended than those familiar to the local theater.

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