[Met Performance] CID:147210
La Bohème {410} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/26/1948.


Metropolitan Opera House
February 26, 1948


Mimì....................Pia Tassinari
Rodolfo.................Ferruccio Tagliavini
Musetta.................Frances Greer
Marcello................Frank Valentino
Schaunard...............George Cehanovsky
Colline.................Nicola Moscona
Benoit..................Melchiorre Luise
Alcindoro...............Melchiorre Luise
Parpignol...............Anthony Marlowe
Sergeant................Lawrence Davidson

Conductor...............Giuseppe Antonicelli

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the New York Herald Tribune

Pia Tassinari Sings Mimi Metropolitan "Bohème"

Last night's performance of Puccini's "La Bohème" at the Metropolitan Opera House brought with it the first appearance here in the role of Mimi of Pia Tassinari. The otherwise familiar cast comprised Ferrucio Tagliavini as Rodolfo, Frances Greer as Musetta, Francesco Valentino as Marcello, Nicola Moscona as Colline, George Cehanovsky as Schunard and the Messrs. Luise, Marlowe and Davidson in the remaining roles. Mr. Antonicelli conducted.

Much of the music of Mimi lies too high for Mme. Tassinari to encompass comfortably, so that her voice, excepting in occasional agreeable sounding passages in the middle register, sounded thin and acidulous. Her delivery of her first act aria, "Mi chiamano Mimi," was not consistently true to pitch, and in order to achieve some of its highest tones the soprano was compelled to resort to clipped phrasing. In the ensuing duet with Rodolfo, her concluding top tone was not sustained as the composer intended it to be, but only tentatively sought after.

The "Addio" in the third act went rather better from the purely tonal aspect and had a measure of the pathos which vocal limitations had made it impossible to imbue in the preceding duet with Marcello. Dramatically viewed, the soprano's delineation was well-routined and dotted here and there with telling moments.

Review of Irving Kolodin in the New York Sun

A Dull Mimi by Pia Tassinari in "Bohème."

The notion that Pia Tassinari, who had sung an artful Tosca earlier in the Metropolitan season, might be capable of something similar in "Bohème" attracted a large audience to the opera house last night - assuming, of course, that most of them were not present to hear her more famous husband, Ferruccio Tagliavini, as Rodolfo. The focus of this listener's attention being Mme. Tassinari, he can only enter it as a misspent evening. The lady's Mimi is well-schooled, well-poised, and, alas, sung with a voice only too well-worn.

Her mere appearance as a more than usually mature Mimi should not be held against her, for it is possible to give the character this kind of dramatic weight. But the heavy, unattractive sound of the voice, its lack of the needed flexibility or range was quite evident from the start. Neither her first act aria or the following duet were more than passably sung, and she gave up entirely on the off-stage B, letting friend husband carry its burden more suitability for the dramatics of the third and fourth acts, but without the necessary vocal resource to achieve proper results.

Tagliavini worked hard to keep the performance at some kind of dramatic pitch, mostly in vain. His singing was often strained and distorted, without the simplicity of style which commended him a year ago. Shouting top tones is no way to give Puccini's writing a proper effect. Also flippant in manner and buzzy in vocal sound was the Musetta of Frances Greer. George Cehanovsky was a sound Schaunard, Francesco Valentino (Marcello), Nicola Moscona (Colline), and Melchiorre Luise (Benoit) no better than audible. Aside from the names involved, it might have been a rather rowdy evening at one of the popular-priced operas around town - down to and including the grossly distorted applause. Since complaints are in order, a final one might be directed against the passive conducting of Giuseppe Antonicelli.

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