[Met Performance] CID:122080
La Bohème {323} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/6/1937.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 6, 1937


LA BOHÈME {323}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Mimì....................Bidú Sayao
Rodolfo.................Charles Kullman
Musetta.................Muriel Dickson
Marcello................John Brownlee
Schaunard...............George Cehanovsky
Colline.................Virgilio Lazzari
Benoit..................Louis D'Angelo
Alcindoro...............Louis D'Angelo
Parpignol...............Max Altglass
Sergeant................Carlo Coscia

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Director................Désiré Defrère
Costume designer........Blaschke & Cie

La Bohème received seven performances this season.

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

Season's First Puccini Heard at Metropolitan

Muriel Dickson Has 1st Foreign Language Role as Musetta in "La Bohème"

Gennaro Papi Conducts

Bidu Sayao Sings Mimi and Kullman is Rodolfo


Not following last season's example of deferring performances of Puccini's operas until the closing fortnight, General Manager Edward Johnson opened the second week of the present season at the Metropolitan Opera House with "La Bohème." The cast, with Bidu Sayao as Mimi, Charles Kullman as Rodolfo, John Brownlee as Marcello, George Cehanovsky as Schaunard and Virgilio Lazzari as Colline, included no debuts, but gave Muriel Dickson, as Musetta, her first opportunity in this house to sing a role in its original language.

The Scottish soprano's voice seemed to have gained appreciably in volume since last season when she sang in the English versions of "The Bartered Bride" and "The Secret Marriage," and she was on excellent terms with the Italian language. The tone quality, apart from a few incompletely focused notes, had a promising firmness, but was sometimes, in the second act, invested with a hardness of surface which suggested forcing which might be ascribed to the nervousness which is not unlikely to attend a first appearance in a new role. She acted the part in this scene, with notable color and vivacity.

Mine Sayao gave an attractive and sympathetic impersonation of Mimi, and her singing, while not without unevenness, frequently merited praise. Mr. Kullman, a convincing Rodolfo, sang with more vocal warmth and freedom than in his previous season here, and both artists scored enthusiastic applause after their arias in the first act. Just before this a little unscheduled mirth was caused when Mimi's and Rodolfo's candles flashed on again after the libretto had assured the audiences that they had been blown out.

Mr. Brownlee was in commendable voice in a dramatically satisfying portrayal of Marcello and Messrs. Cehanovsky and Lazzari also lived up to the standards of what was generally one of the Metropolitan's better performances, despite some inelastic measures. Louis D'Angelo, Max Altglass and Carlo Coscia completed the cast of what many regard as the best and freshest of Puccini's operas. The orchestra sounded well under Gennaro Papi's direction, but the conductor, at a few points, let it assume undue sonority in relation to the voices.



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