[Met Performance] CID:210750
La Bohème {672} New York, Manhattan, Central Park: 06/28/1967.

(Review)


New York, Manhattan,
Central Park, Sheep Meadow
June 28, 1967
In Concert


LA BOHÈME {672}

Mimì....................Anna Moffo
Rodolfo.................Sándor Kónya
Musetta.................Jean Fenn
Marcello................Frank Guarrera
Schaunard...............Russell Christopher
Colline.................John Macurdy
Benoit..................Robert Schmorr
Alcindoro...............Robert Schmorr
Parpignol...............Emil Filip
Sergeant................Edward Ghazal
Officer.................Lloyd Strang

Conductor...............Jan Behr


Review of Howard Klein in The New York Times

After two "out-of-town" tryouts, the Metropolitan Opera Wednesday night opened in Central Park. The work was Puccini's "La Boheme," the opera that opened the Met's first tour of the city's parks Saturday night at Crocheron Park in Bayside Queens.

And, as with that concert, a crowd estimated at 35,000 fanned itself out over the thinning grass of the Sheep Meadow. Tuesday night 27,000 attended a performance at the Bronx Botanical Garden.

There was some discussion among Met press officials about the head count. Estimating crowd sizes in the dark with people moving around is, at best, an imperfect science. Anne Gordon, a Met spokesman, said: "There are twice as many people here as at Crocheron."

But Jack Goodman, Manhattan Park Director, who made the estimate, stuck to his guns. He had been present at similar events at the Sheep Meadow, he said, and although he felt that this was not a large crowd, "it is a very good audience."

The gray-haired Mr. Goodman observed that "it is an older, more sedate audience than the one that came to hear Barbra Streisand." Miss Streisand's concert on June 17 attracted an estimated 135,000 people.

The audience listened hungrily as Anna Moffo and Sandor Konya sang Mimi and Rodolfo, shouting at the appropriate aria endings with careful attention to gender: "Brava" for her, "Bravo" for him. The singing was generally good. Mr. Konya's tenor has sounded brighter in the past, but there was his meaty Italian style to compensate. Miss Moffo's voice was warmly feminine and her acting, even in the concert version, was communicative.

Boheme does not fare too well without its props and costumes. The whole first act depends so much on horseplay - the burning of Rodolfo's play and the joshing of Benoit, the landlord, - that the music alone does not carry it. But the lyricism of the opera makes it pleasurable listening. And the sound system rigged up on "Minnie," the portable orchestra acoustical shell named for the late Mrs. Charles S. Guggenheimer, carried the voices with good fidelity.

Jean Fenn's Musetta was visually and vocally flamboyant. The other Met regulars who turned in solid performances were Frank Guarrera as Marcello, John Macurdy as Colline, Russell Christopher as Schaunard, Robert Schmorr as both Benoit and Alcindoro, Emil Filip as the Parpignol and Edward Ghazal as the Sergeant. Jan Behr conducted with enthusiastic professionalism and the Met orchestra and chorus responded lustily.



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