[Met Performance] CID:190780
La Bohème {608} Metropolitan Theater, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/9/1962.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 9, 1962


LA BOHÈME {608}

Mimì....................Gabriella Tucci
Rodolfo.................Richard Tucker
Musetta.................Laurel Hurley
Marcello................Frank Guarrera
Schaunard...............Roald Reitan
Colline.................Bonaldo Giaiotti
Benoit..................Gerhard Pechner
Alcindoro...............Alessio De Paolis
Parpignol...............Hal Roberts
Sergeant................John Frydel
Officer.................Edward Ghazal

Conductor...............Ignace Strasfogel

Review of Harold Rogers in the Boston Globe

Gabriella Tucci Heard As Mimi in Boston Debut

The 28th season of the Metropolitan Opera in Boston opened with little ostentation and much good music last night at the Metropolitan Theater. The piece was "La Bohème," substituted, as everyone knows, for the originally scheduled "Salome." As far as anyone could tell, no one was unhappy over the change.

Gabriella Tucci, a Roman soprano, made her Boston debut as Mimi; and if she did not work any musical miracles, at least she scored a solid success. Her lirico-spirito is clear, strong, expressive, and her face has a radiant charm that visually enhances her artistry.

One might quarrel a little with her interpretation of this Puccini heroine. Pathetic she should be - nearly all of his heroines are pathetic - yet not so innocent. We must not forget that Mimi deserts Rodolfo between Act III and Act IV for a wealthy man, to return only during her dying moments. Yet this more calculating side of Mimi was missing from Signora Tucci's characterization last night.

This is evidently a point that was also overlooked by Rolf Gerard in his preparations for the costuming, for Mimi returns to Rodolfo in the same little brown dress that she was wearing at the time she bade him "addio, senza rancor," In most productions she returns in finer feathers.

Yet Mr. Gerard must be commended for his convincing settings that somehow steer clear of the stereotyped without risking eccentricity: the Cafe Momus scene was especially realistic with the Café located centerstage in a flatiron building and streets veering off right and left.

One of the most delightful bits of business - for which this Joseph L. Mankiewicz production is doubtless responsible - was the flirtation that Alcindoro carries on with a woman at an adjacent table while Musetta is executing the arabesques of her waltz. Here Alessio De Paolis, a singing comedian par excellence, indulged in some uproarious horseplay as he was aided and abetted by the anonymous cocotte.

But what of Musetta's waltz? This was Laurel Hurley's one big aria, and who truly could listen 100 per cent? Funny as the scene was, it was a monstrous bit of upstaging, and no Musetta should be expected to compete on this basis.

Considering the music as a whole, Puccini's melodies expanded gloriously under Ignace Strasfogel's wide-spread arms that somehow reminded one of a bird winging its way on billows of wind. The Bohemians were boldly outlined by Richard Tucker as Rodolfo, Frank Guarrera as Marcello, Roald Reitan as Schaunard, and Bonaldo Giaiotti as Colline. Mr. Tucker had some brilliant singing moments and fell into an impressive sobbing fit during the closing scene.

Mr. Guarrera, superb actor that he is, was an excellent foil to Miss Hurley's pretty and provocative Musetta. Both sang surpassingly well. Signor Giaiotti, possessor of a strong and steady basso, was duly applauded for his Coat Song. Fine vignettes were provided by Gerhard Pechner as Benoit and by Hal Roberts as Parpignol.



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