[Met Performance] CID:70170
La Bohème {162} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/27/1918.

(Debut: Margaret Romaine
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 27, 1918


LA BOHÈME {162}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Mimì....................Frances Alda
Rodolfo.................Giulio Crimi
Musetta.................Margaret Romaine [Debut]
Marcello................Luigi Montesanto
Schaunard...............Thomas Chalmers
Colline.................Andrés De Segurola
Benoit..................Pompilio Malatesta
Alcindoro...............Paolo Ananian
Parpignol...............Pietro Audisio
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

Director................Richard Ordynski
Costume designer........Blaschke & Cie

La Bohème received eight performances this season.

Review of Max Smith in the American

Metropolitan Gives 'La Bohème' with Margaret Romaine

Giuilio Gatti-Casazza scored another point last night when he introduced Margaret Romaine to the Metropolitan Opera subscribers as the Musetta of the season's first production of "La Bohème." Tall, comely, prepossessing, this young American soprano won an unqualified success. The spontaneous outburst of applause that threatened to stop the performance entirely after the popular waltz song of the second act, and the demonstrations of approval which her appearances before the curtain evoked, could be construed only in one way. The crowd like this new Musetta, liked her immensely.

Miss Romaine's handsome stage presence counted for something, no doubt. But it was by no means the most important element of her portrayal. The new member of the company has a clear soprano voice of considerable power and vibrancy - a voice far more ample in volume and full-throated in its resonance than one usually hears in the music of Musetta in recent years and, after all, the public still has an ear for good singing.

Unquestionably Miss Romaine's experience in the domain of musical comedy and the training she had at the Opera Comique in Paris stood her in good stead last night. She showed plenty of assurance in action and demeanor. Her impersonation, however, was brusque rather than vivacious and, it must be confessed, that the change proved rather refreshing. There are more ways than one of interpreting this girl of the Quartier Latin, and we have had quite a large enough assortment of kittenish Musettas.

Another newcomer last night was Luigi Montesanto, a young Italian baritone, who made a belated debut in the role of Marcello. It can hardly be said that he fulfilled expectations. His voice sounded rather gruff and his tones often were afflicted with a vibrato. It may be well, however, to defer a final appraisal of his vocal and histrionic accomplishments to a more propitious occasion.

Giulio Crimi added another role to his repertory in assuming the part of Rodolfo. He sang the "Che gelida manina" well, but seemed to be somewhat constrained and ill at ease. It was probably due to nervousness that his memory deserted him shortly before the end of the first act. Happily he recovered himself quickly, with the assistance of conductor and prompter. But what was it that made Frances Alda snap off her final high C so suddenly behind the closed door? Except for this unfortunate occurrence Mme. Alda once more sang the part of Mimi satisfactorily. Yet was she surely not in her best vocal estate.

The other roles were competently handled. Thomas Chalmers appearing as Schaunard (and an excellent Schaunard he was). Pompilio Malatesta as Benoit, De Segurola as Colline, Ananian as Alcindoro and Reschiglian as the Sergeant. Gennaro Papi conducted skillfully, and plenty of skill was need to preserve a balance in the ensemble.



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