[Met Performance] CID:158140

La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, November 29, 1951

Review 1:

Review of Cecil Smith in Musical America

In its second performance of the season, Puccini's "La Bohème" underwent three cast changes: Frank Valentino, making his first Metropolitan appearance under his re-Americanized first name, appeared as Marcello; George Cehanovsky, as Schaunard; and Anne Bollinger, as Musetta. The others in the cast were Victoria de los Angeles, Giuseppe di Stefano, Cesare Siepi, Lorenzo Alvary, Alessio de Paolis, Paul Franke, and Carlo Tomanelli. Mr. Valentino and Mr. Cehanovsky, both veterans of a host of routine "La Bohème" performances at the Metropolitan, submitted with their customary willingness to the tedious defacements of Désiré Defrère's trivializing and often misleading stage direction; their placid acceptance of such thoroughly bad registration made one wish, almost more than had the nervous eagerness of their younger predecessors in the roles had the week before, that "La Bohème" might be put high on Rudolf Bing's list of works standing in need of tasteful restaging. They sang very well, however, and the ensembles moved along with ease and accuracy. Miss Bollinger's voice is rather too agreeable to serve her well in the part of Musetta, but her action, toned down from last spring's ebullience, was reasonably convincing if wholly without period connotations. Miss De los Angeles had gotten over the cold that had been bothering her, and sang almost flawlessly, albeit, in the first two acts, rather coolly. Alberto Erede's conducting, as before, did little for the score.

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