[Met Tour] CID:123520

La Bohème
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts, Tue, March 29, 1938

La Bohème (328)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Bidú Sayão

Jan Kiepura

Natalie Bodanya

Carlo Tagliabue

George Cehanovsky

Norman Cordon

Louis D'Angelo

Giordano Paltrinieri

Carlo Coscia

Gennaro Papi

Review 1:

Review of Alexander Williams in the Boston Herald


"La Bohème"

Puccini seldom wrote more consistently lovely music than that for "La Bohème," and deservedly it stays safely in the repertoire. It has been played so often and by so many great singers and singing actors in the past. A comparatively recent past, to be sure, that it is certain that no one cast will satisfy all the special connoisseurs of this opera. The production, last night was a lively one, except where the romance of the music demanded a slackening of pace. Mr. Papi kept the orchestra and the singers up to snuff throughout. It was, at the least, a performance which the audience hugely enjoyed. There were present those bursts of applause and sudden silences, those calls and bravos, that bespeak keen pleasure by the public in Italian opera.

Miss Sayao acquitted herself extremely well in the role of Mimi. Her high notes were beautifully produced and her voice, on the small side, was a delightful one to hear. She conveyed most effectively the pitiful side of Mimi and the intimate quality of her singing gave a good portrait of this wistful character.

Considerable interest was anticipated from what Mr. Kiepura would do with Rodolfo. Vocally he did well. His voice has a clarity, and he permits it enough of a melodramatic throb that suggests the gay and carefree artist in the days of the real Paris Bohemia. Dramatically we may well be surprised as to what has happened to the actor whose spontaneity was so charming in his German films. Can it be Hollywood that whispers in Mr. Kiepura's ear that he must get out of the picture and try to steal the scenes with his fellow artists? It is Hollywood again, that has made him so awkward and so full of mannerisms? His acting, whatever the cause, did much to spoil the effects of his voice and to impede the production as a whole.

Fortunately there was an excellent Marcello, both dramatically and vocally, in Mr. Tagliabue. He looked exactly the part, sang robustly without in any way being inartistic and was, in short, a tower of strength in the cast. Miss Bodanya was a successfully capricious Musetta in the second act. She was amusingly costumed and sang in high spirits. Messrs. Cehanovsky and D'Angelo did exceedingly well in minor character roles. We wish that something could be done with the staging and the disposition of chorus and extras in the Café Momus scene. As it is the crowd is too great and the important action between the two tables lacks all plausibility.

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