[Met Performance] CID:94480
La Bohème {239} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/7/1926.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 7, 1926


LA BOHÈME {239}

Mimì....................Frances Alda
Rodolfo.................Beniamino Gigli
Musetta.................Nannette Guilford
Marcello................Antonio Scotti
Schaunard...............Millo Picco
Colline.................Adamo Didur
Benoit..................Pompilio Malatesta
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Giordano Paltrinieri
Sergeant................Giuseppe Cottino

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza


Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Record

'Bohème' Stirs Opera Audience

Frances Alda and Beniamino Gigli Heard in Two Leading Roles

Puccini's "La Bohème" will probably never be numbered among those operas widely advertised as "revivals." Its charm is that of all masterpieces - eternal. It will be given continuously as long as audiences enjoy the beautiful and melodious and will be a favorite after many more elaborate works are consigned to the limbo of forgotten operas. The Metropolitan performance at the Academy of Music last night was one of those spirited, perfectly-balanced presentations that occur very rarely. The opera moved with much celerity and fidelity to every detail, the characters took on an unusual naturalness. Life and vitality were infused into the Murger story and for once the action of Parisian life -- frequently so dull and uninteresting to witness that the playwright attempted to depict--came to life and paraded its gayety, love and tragedy before the eyes of the charmed audience.

Much of the unflagging spirit of the performance was due to the animated and colorful ideas of the work which were translated with music by the gifted conductor, Vincenzo Bellezza. He kept the performance up to a standard of contagious enthusiasm. The singing was no less emotional or expressive than usual, but had infinitely more animation and spirit. The cast was excellent, including such popular stars in familiar past as Frances Alda as Mimi, Beniamino Gigli in the role of Rodolfo, Scotti as Marcello and such well-known singers as Didur, Picco, Malatesta in the parts of Colline, Schaunard and Alcindoro. A pleasing diversion was the appearance of Nanette Guilford as Musetta. A pretty young girl, so young and fresh of voice, she appeared almost out of place with her associates, so well known, through many seasons. She gave the part of Musetta more life and originality than any singer formerly cast in this role. She was not only attractive in appearance and action, but sang well in a voice rather remarkable for quality and power. She was a refreshing change from the usual inadequate singers entrusted with this important part. Mme. Alda was the sweetly feminine Mimi, always admired and enjoyed, her artistic singing quite atoning for her inability to visualize the consumptive, frail girl.

Gigli was in gorgeous voice, the audience frequently interrupting the opera's progress to shower applause on his splendid vocalization. Scotti, aroused by the capricious and youthful Musetta, was more sprightly and vigorous in action than usual, winning much applause for his skillful work. The entire opera was a delight, one of the most satisfying performances of "La Bohème" seen for many seasons.



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