[Met Performance] CID:79580
La Bohème {190} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/28/1921.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 28, 1921


LA BOHÈME {190}

Mimì....................Lucrezia Bori
Rodolfo.................Mario Chamlee
Musetta.................Yvonne D'Arle
Marcello................Antonio Scotti
Schaunard...............Adamo Didur
Colline.................Léon Rothier
Benoit..................Paolo Ananian
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Pietro Audisio
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian

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

Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

Bori and Chamlee in 'La Bohème'

If there is another Mimi on the operatic stage today as charming in voice, appearance and action as Lucrezia Bori, she is a stranger to New York. The season's third "Bohème" served to bring back the personable Spanish soprano, who thus made her first appearance this season in a role altogether congenial to her voice and art, and one which she graces with a loveliness quite her own. Last season she sang the Puccini music more flawlessly than she did Wednesday night. But what is an occasional scoop, a momentary deviation from pitch, a touch of shrillness or of unsteadiness of breath, when preceded and followed by phrase upon phrase charged with lyric beauty such as characterized the greater part of Miss Bori's vocalism. Her acting - even if she did surprise her admirers by facing the footlights in her first act air - had an archness, a simplicity, a spontaneity and a mingling of gaiety and pathos that placed hers as a Mimi apart from the others with which Manhattan today is familiar.

Miss Bori was altogether fortunate in having a Rodolfo vocally worthy of her. Mario Chamlee, appearing in the part for the first time at the Metropolitan, sang it better than the writer has heard it sung by any living tenor. There was more of the Caruso quality in his tone than has been heard in the opera house since that last unforgettable Eleazar of the sovereign singer in the Christmas Eve performance of "La Juive," a year ago. Chamlee should go far, if he husbands his resources and grows as Caruso grew. His high C in the "Narrative" was of the stuff that inevitably makes a tenor famous. If he were an Italian, he would be a celebrity now.

Others in the cast were the peerless Antonio Scotti, without whose Marcello "Bohème" never seems quite right; Adamo Didur, who manages to limn an effective portrait of Schaunard, a character usually nondescript; Leon Rothier, a sad-visaged and deep-voiced Colline, and Paolo Ananian and Pompilio Malatesta in the comedy roles of Benoit and Alcindoro. A special word must be said for second-time Musetta of Yvonne D'Arle, sprightly and vixenish, and vocally pleasurable in spite of an over-violent way of attacking her highest tones. The orchestra, under Mr. Papi, was frequently at outs with the singers, several times wretchedly so.



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