[Met Tour] CID:165690

La Bohème
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts, Wed, April 28, 1954

La Bohème (505)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Lucine Amara

Jan Peerce

Jean Fenn

Frank Guarrera

Clifford Harvuot

Cesare Siepi

Lawrence Davidson

Lorenzo Alvary

James McCracken

Algerd Brazis

Kurt Adler

Review 1:

Caneron Dewar in the Boston Traveler
U. S.-Born Soprano Steps Into Lead Role in “Bohème”

It may be too late in the day to expect an inspired performance of “La Bohème,” but it must be allowed that last night’s production by the Metropolitan Opera Company reached the heights in a few spots. At least the capacity audience at the Opera House was enthusiastic for there were new sets and costumes, a new singer in the leading role, and a new conductor in the pit.

In the absence of Hilde Gueden it was a day of triumph for Lucine Amara, 26-year old American-born soprano who stepped into the part of Mimi after singing Micaela in “Carmen” at the afternoon performance.

A dark good-looking young woman of Armenian parentage, Miss Amara has had all of her training in this country. While it would be inaccurate to say that she is a great singer, there is no doubt that she is a capable performer. She has great appeal and charm and brought warmth and lovely tone to the role.

She deserves great credit for her unusual feat and there seems no doubt that she will develop into a most useful member of the company, if, indeed, she is not already one.

A sudden operation took Alberto Erede out of commission and put Kurt Adler, the chorus master, in command of the baton. While he gave a spirited reading, there were times when, either from self-hypnosis or some other agency, he allowed his musicians to battle it out with the singers.

Even such an old hand at Rodolfo as Jan Peerce had his problems with the swelling cadenzas. A competent job can always be expected from Mr. Peerce, but perhaps the Met should give some serious thought to developing a new and streamlined foil for Mimi.

This is not to say, however, that Mr. Peerce’s great moment in “Che gelida manina” and also his duets with Mimi went unappreciated, but there is the feeling that he can do it all with his eyes shut, and probably does at times.

That splendid basso Cesare Siepi and the consistent Frank Guarrera, along with Clifford Harvout, made up formidable foursome of Bohemians. Jean Fenn’s Musetta suffered from the usual whoopy quality that is so often present in the part, but she did present a pretty picture.

Outside of the second act there isn’t too much to be done scenically with “Bohème.” The bitter-sweet piece hardly lends itself to lavish sets and certainly a poor artist’s garret back in 1830 in Paris has its limitations.

However, the scorecard stacked up fairly well and it is pleasant to hear once more the lush, sweeping arias that are the hallmark of Puccini.

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