[Met Performance] CID:216690
La Bohème {680} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/23/1968.

(Debut: Luciano Pavarotti
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 23, 1968 Matinee


LA BOHÈME {680}

Mimì....................Mirella Freni
Rodolfo.................Luciano Pavarotti [Debut]
Musetta.................Colette Boky
Marcello................Frank Guarrera
Schaunard...............Russell Christopher
Colline.................Jerome Hines
Benoit..................Paul Plishka
Alcindoro...............Lorenzo Alvary
Parpignol...............Gene Allen
Sergeant................Peter Sliker
Officer.................Lloyd Strang

Conductor...............Francesco Molinari-Pradelli

Review of Douglas Watt in the New York Daily News

MET GAINED A VIBRANT NEW 'BOHEME' HERO

Passable Rodolfos are fairly common, but outstanding ones are always in short supply. So it was a pleasant surprise to find Luciano Pavarotti, a tenor seemingly born to the role, making his Met debut in Saturday afternoon's "La Boheme."

The Italian singer, whose appearance was delayed a week because of laryngitis, is the goods. Not only is he the owner of a bright, ringing tenor in perfect tune, he is also an exuberant performer who gave a buoyancy to the proceedings that few Rodolfos are capable of.

A burly young man, Pavarotti acts and sings with ease and an engaging directness, there was, for example, none of the usual little flirtations with Mimi's groping fingers along the floor of the darkened garret in Act One to cue Rodolfo's aria "Che gelida manina."

Pavarotti (it must have been his own interpretation for he could surely have had little or no rehearsal time) simply took in the situation from across the room as Mimi sought for her key, and then strode over and grasped her hand firmly.

It is indicative of his entire approach to the role. With luck, his personality should brighten many a gloomy Met corner.

It was a winning "Boheme" all around. Frank Guarrera's high spirits as Marcello matched Pavarotti's, and Jerome Hines as Colline and Russell Christopher as Schaunard completed Puccini's amiable band of cronies in fine fashion.

Mirella Freni continues to be an affecting Mimi, and Colette Boky, new to the role this season, was an admirable Musetta. It was, by the way, quite interesting in this day of stage nudity to find one's interest aroused by Musetta as, in the Cafe Momus scene, she lifts her dresses knee-high and, in Miss Boky's case, reveals a well-turned ankle and calf.

Francesco Molinari-Pradelli conducted.


Review of Peter G. Davis in The New York Times

The Metropolitan has to make the star system work for its "La Bohème" - the production is so faceless that only first-class operatic personalities in the leading roles can stir up any excitement onstage at all. Two performers managed to cut through the over-all bored routine of yesterday afternoon's presentation. One of them was Mirella Freni, and her Mimi is as fresh and lovely to the eye and ear as ever. She was romanced on this occasion by Luciano Pavarotti, who made his debut with the company in the role of Rodolfo.

Mr. Pavarotti triumphed principally through the natural beauty of his voice - a bright, open instrument with a nice metallic ping up top that warms into an even, burnished luster in midrange. Any tenor who can toss off high C's with such abandon, successfully negotiate delicate diminuendo effects and attack Puccinian phrases so fervently is going to win over any La Bohème audience, and Mr. Pavarotti had them eating out of his hand. As far as acting tenors go, Mr. Pavarotti is not the worst, but his generally stiff and unconvincing stage presence did leave something to be desired.



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