[Met Performance] CID:134070

La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, November 30, 1942

Debut : Frances Greer

La Bohème (358)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Grace Moore

Frederick Jagel

Frances Greer [Debut]

Frank Valentino

George Cehanovsky

Norman Cordon

Salvatore Baccaloni

Lodovico Oliviero

Wilfred Engelman

Cesare Sodero

Désiré Defrère

Costume Designer
Blaschke & Cie

La Bohème received eight performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Virgil Thomson ion the Herald Tribune

With Enthusiasm

That last night's "La Bohème" was sung with care and applauded with gusto is a pleasure to record. Miss Grace Moore's first recent appearance as Mimi was, indeed, rather a triumph, because her singing has never been lovelier nor her acting half so restrained. Miss Frances Greer's Metropolitan debut (she sang Musetta) had a touch of brilliance, too, because she looked well, overacted quite convincingly and revealed vocal advantages far from banal. Everybody sang well, in fact, and acted presentably; the orchestra stood up and applauded, flowers were thrown. What really provoked the demonstration, I think, was the welded force of the performance as a whole; and that was due to the conducting of Mr. Cesare Sodero

Miss Moore , who has always had a fine voice, was in top form last night. She sang roundly and ringingly. It is only by a hair's breadth that she missed the ultimate in sumptuousness on certain high notes. Miss Greer actually made that final vibrancy a couple of times. Beautiful, indeed, it was to hear a voice resound so truly and with youth still in it.

Unfortunately, this vocal beauty was only used at special moments. The rest of the time Miss Greer was so busy overacting (she overacted nicely, but she did overact) that the vocalism that got over the footlights was mostly a sort of querulous buzz. She cackled her words, but didn't really sing them. The matter is not grave, because she has stage talent, self-confidence (almost too much) and a very beautiful voice. She'll soon tone down her acting and rely more on her excellent musical resources. It was a good debut.

All the gentlemen were pleasant to hear; but the pleasantest were Mr. Frederick Jagel, who sang Rodolfo, and Mr. Norman Cordon, who sang Colline. Mr. Baccaloni, too, was excellent in two comic parts. And the chorus sang clearly and vibrantly, for a change. Mr. Jagel, like everybody else, seems to have passed a vocally profitable summer. His voice is sounding rich, and if he sometimes aimed a little low last night, he always slid up to the true pitch, without delay. Mr. Cordon, as always, was vocally fine, and personally distinguished.

There is not much to say of Miss Moore's Mimi beyond remarking that it is vocally most satisfactory and dramatically rather nicely restrained. It is solid and should wear well. I do wish she would learn to walk without strutting.

Mr. Sodero read the score in lively fashion, brought out all its delicacy, kept the orchestra down, animated and controlled a performance that was notable for vigor without violence. I think it was chiefly due to him that the musical amenities were observed so graciously on the stage as well as in the pit and that the opera came out as both aurally moving and romantically convincing.

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