[Met Tour] CID:133440

La Bohème
Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, Wed, March 25, 1942

La Bohème (357)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Bidú Sayão

Charles Kullman

Annamary Dickey

John Brownlee

George Cehanovsky

Nicola Moscona

Salvatore Baccaloni

Lodovico Oliviero

John Gurney

Paul Breisach

Review 1:

Review of Rudolph Elie Jr. in the Boston Herald

"La Bohème"

Once they got beyond the first two acts, they gave a good accounting of themselves in Puccini's "La Bohème" at the Metropolitan last night. The performance had imagination and style, the singing had quality and radiance and above all, the orchestra had vigor and intensity and color.

It didn't start too well; indeed, until it got well along it was all but routine in flavor save for a few bars of excellent singing, but with the third act (all the mob scenes being mainly out of the way), the performance gained in momentum and finished with commendable passion.

At that, it is hard to deny the inherent effectiveness of those final scenes. None, perhaps, represent Puccini in a more tender or intimate vein and few are their equal for sheer orchestral vitality. Assuming the roles of Mimi and Rodolfo are well acted and sung by reasonably attractive people, enough sympathy is generated to enchant anyone who has a modicum of sentiment. And it must be said that Bidu Sayao as Mimi and Charles Kullman as Rodolfo filled the description aptly.

As the fragile heroine destined to up and die of a cough, Bidu Sayao sang with fine lyric charm, endowing the part with a genuinely touching aspect. She was in especially good voice, and her tone was clear and comfortably secure, At times she was curiously outside the role, but for the most part, as we have said, she was warm and convincing, and she up and died beautifully.

Although he occasionally forced his top tones, Charles Kullman was an ardent and vocally satisfying lover, especially in his intimate scenes with Mimi. He took liberties once and again with the phrasing, but on the whole he was, particularly as to appearance and deportment, one of the better Rodolfos. As to the lesser characters, they were well chosen. John Brownlee was a particularly engaging Marcello, while Annamary Dickey, singing opposite him, as Musetta sang and acted very capably. Salvatore Baccaloni, brief although his appearances were, all but carried away the scenes he appeared in.

Equally deserving of praise as the singers was the conducting of Paul Breisach in the pit; indeed, much of the credit for the effectiveness of the entire performance is due him for his spirited, authoritative leadership. Nor can we omit praising the prompter, who was in distinctly audible voice last night. All the other details - costumes, décor, etc., were just about what we have come to expect of the Metropolitan; not without their good points, of course, but generally so-so. Excepting, come to think of it, the scene at the toll gate, which was surprisingly good.

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