[Met Performance] CID:188110
La Bohème {595} Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri: 05/11/1961.

(Review)


St. Louis, Missouri
Kiel Auditorium
May 11, 1961


LA BOHÈME {595}

Mimì....................Dorothy Kirsten
Rodolfo.................Jan Peerce
Musetta.................Laurel Hurley
Marcello................Lorenzo Testi
Schaunard...............Roald Reitan
Colline.................William Wilderman
Benoit..................Fernando Corena
Alcindoro...............Alessio De Paolis
Parpignol...............Charles Cooke
Sergeant................Carlo Tomanelli
Officer.................Edward Ghazal

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

Review of Thomas B. Sherman in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

'LA BOHÈME' SUNG BY METROPOLITAN

Most of Cast Excellent in Concluding Performance Here

Puccini's "La Boheme" was sung last night at Kiel Auditorium, concluding the Metropolitan Opera Company's brief visit to St. Louis. More than 3000 attended.

Jan Peerce and Dorothy Kirsten sang the roles of Rodolfo and Mimi with vocal and dramatic effectiveness. Peerce did not command the ringing brilliance of tone that has been characteristic of him in the past. It must also be noted that the fourth act duet sung by Peerce and Lorenzo Testi as Marcello was badly garbled before it was finished. These were minor blemishes that did not detract seriously from the merit of the production as a whole.

The performance lacked the glow of inspiration except in the third act when Miss Kirsten, in particular, translated the pathos of the music into the more exalted language of poetic tenderness. Miss Kirsten was in good voice throughout the opera
and used her voice with artistic discretion. Her colleagues also maintained a high level of tone quality and artistry.

Testi's big vibrant baritone made him an unusually appealing Marcello. William Wildermann sang the coat song with more restraint and greater poignancy than one generally hears, and the smaller roles were polished off with the highest competence.
Laurel Hurley, the young soprano who sang the role of Musetta, unfortunately, was out of her class. Her voice had a too conspicuous vibrato and she communicated no feeling of animal magnetism such as the role obviously requires. Her relative blandness put a damper on the Cafe Momus scene in the second act. Moreover, the staging for this act did not work out too well. The stage seemed crowded and the principals were hard to find possibly because there was not depth enough to accommodate the cafe fronts, tables, full chorus, stage band and principals.

Thomas Schippers, the conductor, handled the orchestra ably and was particularly successful in keeping the choirs well blended and in making the music expressive through shading and modeling of the phrase. In sum, the cast was superior
except for Miss Hurley. The conductor was notable for his artistic management of the fine orchestra. The sets and costumes by Rolf Gerard were atmospheric. The listener knew that he was hearing high ranking professionals. But professional competence rather than artistic magic would be the expression in describing the net effect of the evening.



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