[Met Performance] CID:61040
La Bohème {138} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/19/1915.

(Debuts: Ida Cajatti, Gaetano Bavagnoli
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 19, 1915


LA BOHÈME {138}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Mimì....................Frances Alda
Rodolfo.................Enrico Caruso
Musetta.................Ida Cajatti [Debut]
Marcello................Antonio Scotti
Schaunard...............Riccardo Tegani
Colline.................Andrés De Segurola
Benoit..................Robert Leonhardt
Alcindoro...............Robert Leonhardt
Parpignol...............Pietro Audisio
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Gaetano Bavagnoli [Debut]

Director................Jules Speck
Costume Designer........Blaschke & Cie

La Bohème received ten performances this season.


Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

The reentry of Mr. Puccini into the repertory at the Metropolitan Opera House was effected most brilliantly last evening, the fourth of the season. The opera was "La Bohème," which is without doubt one of the most popular works before this public. Causes innumerable have been assigned for its continual vogue, but the most potent of all is the wide acquaintance with its melodies. People love to go to the opera to hear the airs they know, and the general knowledge of tunes has been greatly increased by the home education of mechanical music makers of various types. Even children know "Che gelida manina" before they have learned to tell an opera from a face comedy.

But when Mr. Caruso is cast for Rodolfo another great attraction is offered. People cherish lovely memories of the famous tenor's early days in this role, the days when his cantilena was as smooth and elegant as that of a master violinist, when he never hit notes violent blows, the good old days before the "Pagliacci" bass drum had cast its fatal shadow upon his art. But these people are few and no one given attention to their plaints. It is enough for today that Mr. Caruso sings the music of "La Bohème"; how he sings it does not matter. So it can hurt no one's feelings to say that he was in very bad voice last evening and that he sang in a style decidedly the opposite of lyric.

Gaetano Bavagnoli, a new conductor, directed the performance last night. It can be said that this gentleman is a well trained routinier with whom matters will go well and confidently, if not with brilliancy. There was no disclosure of special distinction in his conducting last night, but he accompanied the singers generally well, and in the difficult ensemble which closes the second act showed that he knew how to handle masses. Furthermore, it was noticeable that he has a delicate hand in the treatment of tutti passages, so that his singers were not drowned out. The tempi were naturally traditional and with Mr. Caruso, Mr. Scotti and Mme. Alda on the stage would have been governed largely by the singers anyhow in a work of the "Bohème" type.

Ida Cajatti, a new second soprano, made her debut as Musetta. She made little of the part, but possibly was at her worst because of nervousness. Her light voice was very unsteady and its quality often white. But she may be better at her next appearance. No final judgment should be pronounced upon her by any of last night's hearers.

Mr. Scotti, whose voice has taken a new lease on life, was admirable in every respect as Marcello. Mme. Alda was an acceptable Mimi and the other members of the cast, all of whom have been heard before, did their work at least with devotion. The audience packed the house, and its applause was frequent and vigorous.


Photographs of Frances Alda as Mimì and Enrico Caruso as Rodolfo in La Bohème by Herman Mishkin.



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