[Met Performance] CID:186030
La Bohème {578} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/28/1960.

(Debuts: Lorenzo Testi, Charles Cooke, Ralph Herbert
NewReview)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 28, 1960


LA BOHÈME {578}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Mimì....................Lucine Amara
Rodolfo.................Richard Tucker
Musetta.................Laurel Hurley
Marcello................Lorenzo Testi [Debut]
Schaunard...............Roald Reitan
Colline.................Cesare Siepi
Benoit..................Gerhard Pechner
Alcindoro...............Norman Kelley
Parpignol...............Charles Cooke [Debut]
Sergeant................Carlo Tomanelli
Officer.................Edward Ghazal

Conductor...............Thomas Schippers

Director................Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stage Director..........Ralph Herbert [Debut]
Designer................Rolf Gérard

La Bohème received twenty-one performances this season.

Review of Raymond Ericson in The New York Times

'La Bohème' Returns

The bustling, slightly raucous figure in the orchestra that sends up the curtain on a freezing poet and painter in "La Bohème" was heard once again at the Metropolitan Opera House last night. Puccini's popular opera, which had stayed in the company's repertory season in and season out since 1901, was dropped last year. It is back, and a welcome return it is. The Metropolitan's production of "Bohème" is one of its prizes, and it wears exceedingly well. Joseph L. Mankiewicz' detailed and perceptive stage direction, now being tended by Ralph Herbert, has not lost any of its sense of intimacy in the roomy, but evocative, sets of Rolf Gerard.

Thomas Schippers again was in the orchestra pit. He has shown a particular affection and understanding of this score since his tenure with the New York City Opera, before he went to the Metropolitan. Now, at the ripe age of 30, he is virtually a master of it. His performance combines finesse and sentiment. He keeps the sound of the orchestra beautifully transparent, while he lets the Puccinian melodies have their sweet way. He both controls and supports the singers. In particular, the second act, with its shift in focus from chorus to individual, is remarkable in its dramatic and musical continuity.

There were other familiar elements in the production, no less pleasurable for their being just that. Lucine Amara, as Mimi, sang with the same tonal purity and accuracy of pitch that she has in the past, but her characterization, vocally and dramatically, has grown more touching, more tender and delicate. Richard Tucker, as Rodolfo sang with the suavity and brilliance that make him one of the outstanding operatic tenors of our time. Cesare Siepi lavished his superb bass voice on the part of Colline. (How he must love this part, after singing so many dignified high priests and kings - his flying leap, onto the bed in the first act was a wonder to behold.) Laurel Hurley's Musetta was flamboyant, a little bit cheap (intentionally so), and warmly human.

Lorenzo Testi, a young Italian baritone, made his debut with the company last night in the role of Marcello. His assurance and ease suggested that he is no stranger to the part, and he managed to enter wholeheartedly into the Bohemians' horseplay, while keeping an eye cocked in the direction of the conductor. His voice, of medium size, sounded fresh and sturdy. It will take a role with more vocal hazards, however, to determine his final value to the company.

New to the role of Schaunard was American baritone Roald Reitan. Usually heard in smaller parts at the Metropolitan, he held his own easily with his colleagues. There were sharply vivid character vignettes from Gerhard Pechner, a familiar Benoit, and from Normal Kelley, an unfamiliar Alcindoro. Other brief roles were in the capable hands of Charles Cooke (Parpignol), Carlo Tomanelli (A Sargeant), and Edward Ghazal (A Customs Officer),



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).