[Met Performance] CID:98230
La Bohème {250} Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, Brooklyn: 01/31/1928.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
January 31, 1928


LA BOHÈME {250}

Mimì....................Frances Alda
Rodolfo.................Mario Chamlee
Musetta.................Nannette Guilford
Marcello................Antonio Scotti
Schaunard...............Adamo Didur
Colline.................Léon Rothier
Benoit..................Paolo Ananian
Alcindoro...............Paolo Ananian
Parpignol...............Max Altglass
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Giuseppe Bamboschek

Review of Felix Deyo in the Brooklyn Standard Union

'La Bohème' at the Academy

Brooklyn's Puccini cycle by the Metropolitan Opera Company was continued at the Academy of Music last night with an exceptionally pleasing performance of "La Bohème." The present season has already afforded Mr. Swin's subscribers (out of seven performances since last November), "Madama Butterfly," "Tosca" and "Turandot." We had rather hoped that "Manon Lescaut," Puccini's earlier opus, and in our opinion his most spontaneous work, would be sent to Brooklyn this season instead of "La Bohème." Records reveal no performance of "Manon Lescaut" in Brooklyn, ever, and the current revival by Mr. Gatti-Casazza (with Mme. Alda who sang Mimi last night) would have fitted in well with the scheme of this season's Brooklyn Puccini Cycle. The records do reveal, however, that with the exception of three seasons only since 1913-1914, "La Bohème" has been a Metropolitan offering in Brooklyn, and always a well-liked one. Last night's "La Bohème," we are informed, drew box-office receipts slightly above those for any previous performance of the work in this borough. All of which indicates the fact that the Academy's opera house was crowded to the capacity of seats and standing room.

The performance was a model of synchronization, in which orchestra, leading singers, chorus, costumes, scenery, lighting, stage detail, dramatic action, and all else moved in a well-nigh perfect concord of artistic purpose, thus concealing much of that obvious (or "hokus pocus") element which makes the stage-end of grand opera frequently ridiculous. Many serious operas, despite their inspired music, become humorous affairs because of operatic "faux pas." But such was not the case last night. Instead a high degree of romantic illusion was achieved.

Frances Alda has always, in our estimation, possessed a voice of individual lyric-soprano quality. Last night, as heretofore, her tones were richer than any heard in the more than twenty years that Mme. Alda has sung the role of Mimi, an impersonation, which, therefore, has become familiar to Metropolitan patrons. She was splendidly companioned by Mario Chamlee's Rodolfo. Mr. Chamlee is a lyric tenor whose style of singing has all the sophistications of fine vocal artistry and whose acting methods are ever refined.

And for once it was an exceeding pleasure to hear Musetta's waltz song actually sung instead of warbled. Miss Guilford's presence in an operatic cast nowadays is an assurance of a minor soprano role artistically sung. Need we mention her pulchritude, which was especially in evidence last night?

Mr. Bamboschek avoided startling orchestral outbursts. He is not, perhaps, a virtuoso conductor, but some no doubt would prefer his straightforward style of musical interpretation, even though it be lacking somewhat in incisiveness, to the ultra-temperamental efforts of some other baton wielders at the Metropolitan. We hope that Mr. Bamboschek will again be assigned to Brooklyn.



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