[Met Performance] CID:314450
La Bohème {993} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/12/1993.

(Debut: Vincenzo La Scola
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 12, 1993


LA BOHÈME {993}

Mimì....................Veronica Villarroel
Rodolfo.................Vincenzo La Scola [Debut]
Musetta.................Carol Neblett
Marcello................Timothy Noble
Schaunard...............Mark Oswald
Colline.................Yanni Yannissis
Benoit..................François Loup
Alcindoro...............François Loup
Parpignol...............John Hanriot
Sergeant................Herman Marcus
Officer.................Paul De Paola

Conductor...............Carlo Rizzi

Review of Barrymore Laurence Scherer in the February 19, 1994 issue of Opera News

It's easy to take "La Bohème" tor granted nowadays, but the Metropolitan Opera's 701st performance of it (Nov. 12) proved one of the finest in memory. Making his house debut, as Rodolfo, Sicilian tenor Vincenzo La Scola began innocuously, but from the moment Mimi entered, he revealed himself an artist of the first order. Though in "Che gelida manina" his top B-flat and C were not ideally free, the sensitivity, poetry and musicianship with which he used his lovely lyric voice were remarkable. He appeared to be a natural actor, lively and elegant, with an easy sense of comedy and beautiful use of his hands.

Chilean soprano Veronica Villarroel's Mimi commanded attention from the first note. Her timbre, with its slight edge, is similar to Callas', only prettier, and she sang with Callas-like intensity and subtlety - carefully shaped phrases and poignantly colored tones. Both singers floated soft passages with consummate skill and made every word count. The Act III trio was heartbreaking, while the death scene rang true to life. Instead of indulging in the usual tenor histrionics at the end, La Scola wept momentarily upon Marcello's shoulder, then knelt slowly at Mimi's bed, crying out her name softly, choked with grief.

The rest of the cast delivered an ensemble performance so fresh and lively that it seemed like the first night of a new production. Timothy Noble made a bluff, bearish Marcello, countered by the brassy exuberance of Carol Neblett's Musetta. Mark Oswald proved an affecting Schaunard. As Colline, Yanni Yannissis sang "Vecchia zimarra" in a voice that sounded distressingly worn for one so young. Though pit and stage seemed momentarily out of sync in Acts II and IV, Carlo Rizzi conducted an expansive, idiomatic performance, and despite his penchant for brisk tempos, he supported the singers well and obtained moving turns of phrase.



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