[Met Performance] CID:89530
La Bohème {222} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/24/1925.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 24, 1925


LA BOHÈME {222}

Mimì....................Maria Müller
Rodolfo.................Beniamino Gigli
Musetta.................Louise Hunter
Marcello................Giuseppe Danise
Schaunard...............Millo Picco
Colline.................Giovanni Martino
Benoit..................Pompilio Malatesta
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Max Altglass
Sergeant................Giuseppe Cottino

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

Review signed S. L. L. in unidentified Philadelphia newspaper

NEW STARS SING 'BOHÈME' HERE

Metropolitan Company Presents Delightful Opera in Delightful Way

ROLES SPLENDIDLY TAKEN

What the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York can accomplish when it gives of its best was shown last night at the Academy of Music in a performance of Puccini's "La Bohème," which can be described only as gorgeous. Two new singers were introduced to a Philadelphia audience, Maria Müller, as Mimi, who has sung here before, but only in minor roles, and Louise Hunter, as Musetta. Beniamino Gigli, the most perfect lyric tenor of the operatic stage in America today, was the Rodolfo, and Guiseppe Danise took the role of Marcello, those four being the chief roles of the opera.

Mme. Müller fairly swept the audience off its feet by the superb quality of her voice, which is one of the really great vocal instruments of the operatic stage. But added to that is a technique of singing possessed by few: magnificent; control of the breath and of the tone (her pianissimo is one of the most marvelous ever heard in this city) and an ability to throw in tonal expression any shade of emotion from gayety, as exhibited in the Cafe Momus scene, to the overwhelming pathos of the last act.

At the close of the first act she and Mr. Gigli received too many curtain calls to count. She is one of the great additions to the Metropolitan Opera Company. Incidentally the amazing performance of last night was her first appearance as Mimi and her second appearance anywhere in Italian opera.

Miss Louise Hunter was the best Musetta the Metropolitan has presented here in a long time. She has a voice of exceptional register, evenness and flexibility, is charming in stage appearance and is apparently a natural actress, as there was a sharp differentiation between the saucy coquettishness and the pathos of the role as illustrated in the second, third and last acts. She won success with the so-called "waltz" in the second act, second only to that of Mme. Müller in the first.

It is unnecessary to speak of the consummate vocal art of Mr. Gigli, which rose to the many occasions demanded of the tenor by the composer. He was in superb voice, and the magnificent singing of Mme. Müller, Miss Hunter and the others seemed to inspire him to some of his greatest efforts in this city. The famous "narrative" in the first act was a triumph of voice and artistry, and the love duet at the close of that set was one of the high spots of the company's Philadelphia season. All through Mr. Gigli was at his very best and he displayed an artistic restraint in his acting, especially in the closing scene, which was beautiful.

The lesser roles were exceptionally well taken by Millo Picco as Schaunard, Pompilio Malatesta, who acted with his customary skill in comedy, in the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro, and Giovanni Martini as Colline, who won success in the famous "Farewell" to the Coat in the last act. But one of the great features of the performance was the spirit and the verve with which the entire opera was taken and which grew, rather than diminished, during the course of the production, as the last act was the most effective of the four.

Mr. Papi conducted, and although there were places in which the orchestra over-powered the voices, that defect may be overlooked in the general excellence of the performance,



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).