[Met Performance] CID:139760
La Bohème {384} Chicago Opera House, Chicago, Illinois: 05/5/1945.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
May 5, 1945


LA BOHÈME {384}

Mimì....................Licia Albanese
Rodolfo.................Jan Peerce
Musetta.................Mimi Benzell
Marcello................Frank Valentino
Schaunard...............George Cehanovsky
Colline.................Virgilio Lazzari
Benoit..................Gerhard Pechner
Alcindoro...............Louis D'Angelo
Parpignol...............Lodovico Oliviero
Sergeant................John Baker

Conductor...............Cesare Sodero

Review of Charles Buckley in the Chicago Herald-American

'La Bohème' Closes Opera

"La Bohème," perennial opera favorite, ended the Metropolitan's brief Chicago stay Saturday night. This opera's immediate appeal comes from a score abounding in melody and lyrical charm and a libretto concerned with familiar human relationships. Puccini's music reaches sentimentality without conveying deep emotional feeling; effective orchestration supports the dramatic content of the story.

Enthusiastic shouts of "bravo" and "bravissimo" attested to the popular success of Saturday's "La Bohème." Conductor Sodero maintained an integrated, well-paced performance, although his absorption led to occasional overbalance from the pit.

Licia Albanese, vocally satisfying as the heroine Mimi, sang with clear, full-bodied tone. Somewhat freighted acting did not detract from her dramatically effective and vibrant voice.

Jan Peerce as the grief-stricken hero Rodolfo overstressed vocal devices to convey the emotions of the role. Otherwise he showed his ususal dependable, musicianly style.

Impressive performer was Frank Valentino in the role of the artist Marcello. Effortless production and naturally good timbre and resonance characterized some of the best singing of the evening.

Mimi Benzell was a pert, vivacious and well-costumed Musetta. Her flexible voice marked by tremolo in the upper register, was overshadowed by her attention-getting stage presence.

As the musician Schaunard, George Cehanovsky added spontaneity and good voice to the portrayal of life among carefree Bohemian artists. Virgillio Lazzari gave a sincere and well-seasoned performance of the benevolent philosopher Colline. Lazzari seems to signify grand opera style.

Commendable singing and acting by the supporting cast included Gerhard Pechner as the victimized landlord; Louis D'Angelo as the badgered Alcindoro; Lodovico Oliviero as the vender Parpignol, and John Baker as the toll-gate sergeant.

Stage direction was carefully calculated.



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