[Met Performance] CID:158310

La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, December 15, 1951

Review 1:

Review of James Hinton Jr. in the January 1, 1952 issue of Musical America

The third performance of "La Bohème" this season at the Metropolitan brought an entirely new set of principals-Eleanor Steber as Mimi, Richard Tucker as Rodolfo, Hilde Güden as Musetta, and Giuseppe Valdengo as Marcello. Clifford Harvuot, Cesare Siepi, Lorenzo Alvary, Paul Franke and Carlo Tomanelli took their familiar roles, but Gerhard Pechner was singing his first Alcindoro of the season.

Miss Güden, making her first appearance as Musetta here, was easily the most satisfactory of the newcomers. Her impersonation was more spontaneous, more tasteful, less played to the gallery, than the general run of Metropolitan Musettas. It was traditional and not especially imaginative, but many of the things that she did not do counted heavily in her favor. She sang quite brilliantly and musically, with a light, clear placement that might have been even more effective had she been willing to let her voice out more.

Of the more familiar figures, Mr. Tucker gave by far the best performance. He looked well, acted quite acceptably and, when he did not push his tones out of focus, sang with great breadth and some communicative passion. Miss Steber was at her best in the death scene, which she sang and acted most appealingly; before that she had seemed variably ill at ease and her singing had been afflicted with a wobble on almost all sustained tones. Mr. Valdengo turned in a standard impersonation and contented himself with just singing loud most of the time. Mr. Pechner was amusing and not too excessive. Alberto Erede conducted and, not infrequently, lost control of both orchestra and singers.

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