[Met Performance] CID:98330
La Bohème {251} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/7/1928.

(Debut: Grace Moore
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 7, 1928 Matinee


LA BOHÈME {251}

Mimì....................Grace Moore [Debut]
Rodolfo.................Edward Johnson
Musetta.................Editha Fleischer
Marcello................Antonio Scotti
Schaunard...............Adamo Didur
Colline.................Léon Rothier
Benoit..................Paolo Ananian
Alcindoro...............Pompilio Malatesta
Parpignol...............Max Altglass
Sergeant................Vincenzo Reschiglian

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

Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Sun
A special performance of "La Boheme" was given in the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday afternoon for the benefit of the Misericordia Hospital, Every effort had been made to draw attention to the matinee and the consideration of connoisseurs of music had been openly invited. the occasion of this creation of interest was the debut of another American soprano.
Miss Grace Moore, the young woman of the passing hour, was not making her first appearance on any stage, nor had she been displayed on the moving picture screen before she even began to study. She had sung in Europe and, having been a musical comedy star here, was by no means new to the footlights. But there was no disguising the enthusiasm of the endeavor to persuade the public that a musical event of the first order was taking place.
Doubtless the young woman's friends, who were apparently numerous, believed that for her debut at the Metropolitan was an event of the first order; but unfortunately the Metropolitan itself has more than once demonstrated that the appearance of a donna on its stage did not necessarily mean that she is of the prime order. Singers of the highest rank are very scarce and the present day opera-going public has become accustomed to accepting something measurably below the rank of diva. Miss Moore is assuredly not a sensation, and even though the behavior of yesterday's audience, which was supersensative, did not indicate a conviction that she was.
The soprano has a pretty voice of lyric quality, the color tending toward mellowness and capable of more warmth than the singer knew how to evoke from it. The range was sufficient for the demands of Mimi. In the first act the singer was nervous and her high tones were misplaced and without firmness. In the third act, when she had rid herself of the nervousness, she sang her upper tones with more freedom and something more like focus. One expects a singer who has had experience in a role to phrase her music correctly and this Miss Moore generally did.
She impersonated Mimi with simplicity and wisely undertook no variety of graphics. Two or three rather constrained gestures used over and over and an alternation of facial expression from smile to no smile seemed to exhaust her pictorial resources. In her singing there was little to betray reaction to the emotional significance of the drama. This Mimi walked sedately through placid sensations, and bore her misfortunes so calmly that one could hardly have suspected that her heart was sore. In short, Miss Moore gave a pleasant and fairly creditable interpretation of the role whose finer potentialities seemed to escape her.
Miss Moore was surrounded by a cast which powerfully helped to entertain the audience. Mr. Johnson sang Rodolfo, Mr. Scotti Marcello, Mr. Rothier Colline and Mr. Didur Schaunard. Some of these were particularly admirable and all of them entered joyously into the spirit of the first scene and with feeling to the later and sadder episodes. Mr. Johnson's third act was masterly. Miss Fleischer was the Musetta, a stalwart and determined lady of ebullient temperament, with a heroic stage presence and an infectious confidence in her delivery. Her singing of the familiar air in the second act received warm applause, which it thoroughly deserved.

Review of Harold A. Strickland from the Daily Times
Puccini's perennially popular setting of the tale of the Latin Quarter served yesterday afternoon as the debut vehicle for another budding prima donna. Just as Mary Lewis last season made her entrance on the Metropolitan Opera Company's stage with the role of the ill-fated consumptive, so another musical comedy chorus girl yesterday utilized the same assignment to make known her formal connection with the company.
For Grace Moore, Tennessee beauty, choir singer and daughter of the town's most influential citizen amid the plaudits of friends who crowded the 39th Street auditorium, graduated from the chorus of a Broadway production to a stellar role and yesterday made the final leap to membership in the Gatti company.
Her state's Governor was absent-detained on official business, according to his party. But Senators and Congressmen and politicians and lesser lights were there in abundance and the Misericordia Hospital for whose benefit the matinee was held, garnered in the shekels.
With such a setting it would be most desirable for music reviewers to go into ecstasies concerning a coming young artist-but truth must prevail. The debut was not a success from a technical viewpoint. Admittedly the newcomer was nervous. She was stilted in her acting and her voice had much difficulty in scaling the heights; even in the middle register it was far from clear.
And with Editha Fleischer as the Musetta, an unkind fate indeed hovered over the performance, for this young Teutonic songbird was at her best yesterday afternoon and gave additional reasons-if such were needed-for her growing eminence in the company.
In kindness we refuse to summarize the work of the debutante awaiting another demonstration when the novelty will have disappeared and more assurance comes.



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