[Met Performance] CID:159090

La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, February 26, 1952

Debut : Brenda Lewis

La Bohème (462)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Bidú Sayão

Eugene Conley

Brenda Lewis [Debut]

Giuseppe Valdengo

George Cehanovsky

Cesare Siepi

Gerhard Pechner

Alessio De Paolis

Paul Franke

Carlo Tomanelli

Alberto Erede

Review 1:

Review of Arthur Berger in the Herald Tribune

'La Bohème'

Brenda Lewis and Eugene Conley Heard at Met

The ninth performance of Puccini's "La Bohème" was the occasion last night for the first appearance locally of Brenda Lewis as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Association, and it also provided us with the very pleasant surprise of Eugene Conley as Rodolfo. Mr. Conley stepped in at short notice to replace Giuseppe Di Stefano, who was indisposed; and while the American tenor has sung the role with smaller local companies, this was his first opportunity to appear in it at the Metropolitan Opera House. Miss Lewis has been the Rosalinda in the Met's special road company assembled to tour "Fledermaus." But she had never before been heard here with the Metropolitan Opera Association.

She was from the dramatic point of view, a convincing Musetta, and she looked very attractive, indeed, in an impressive red velvet gown. Her full-bodied tones soared easily over the busy ensemble of Act II. In quality, however, they were somewhat edgy and not altogether congenial to the ears.

Mr. Conley's Rodolfo was a delight all around. His voice these days sounds uncommonly fresh and clear, and last night he permitted none of Puccini's phrases to elude the listener's ear or to sag in any way. The impersonation was youthful, eloquent and sympathetic, and we were altogether grateful for his unscheduled performance.

The otherwise familiar cast included Bidu Sayao as Mimi, Giuseppe Valdengo as Marcello and Cesare Siepi as Colline and George Cehanovsky as Schaunard. Albert Erede again conducted.

Review 2:

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America
Brenda Lewis, who has been appearing as Rosalinda in the touring company of the Metropolitan Opera's production of “Fledermaus” since last fall, made her debut with the company in New York at this performance in the role of Musetta. Miss Lewis made a colorful and appealing figure of the character. She was careful to indicate both the shrewish and the kind-hearted strains in Musetta's personality, and if she overacted a bit, this could be chalked up to the excitement of a debut. Her voice carried well, and except when she drove it too hard in climaxes it had a vital quality.
,br>An unexpected "first appearance" was that of Eugene Conley, who substituted for Giuseppe di Stefano in the role of Rodolfo. Mr. Conley had never sung the role at the Metropolitan before, although he was heard in it with the New York City Opera. His voice was in fresh condition, and it rang out freely. More restraint, however, both in vocalism and acting, would have improved his performance. Bidu Sayao was a charming and touching Mimi. The others in the cast were George Cehanovsky, Giuseppe Valdengo, Cesare Siepi, Gerhard Pechner, Paul Franke, Alessio de Paolis, and Carlo Tomanelli. Alberto Erede conducted.

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