[Met Performance] CID:170990

La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, February 22, 1956

Review 1:

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

Daniele Barioni, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut on Monday as Cavaradossi in "Tosca,'" sang yet another Puccini hero Wednesday night in the company's repeat performance of "La Bohème." The tenor appeared as Rodolfo in a cast that also included Licia Albanese as Mimi, Clifford Harvuot as Schaunard, Norman Scott as Colline, Jean Fenn as Musetta and Ettore Bastianini, essaying his first Marcello of the season. Fausto Cleva was the conductor.

Mr. Barioni, as was reported, is an authentic, a genuine tenor. His voice is clear, clean, pure, and it rings. He is not above straining at times, nor is his pitch ever tidy, but in the main he navigates smoothly in those vocal areas that dictate a tenor's success or failure.

Mr. Barioni is, however, exceedingly young and his youth in all probability accounts for his most striking present deficiency. Stated in brief, Mr. Barioni lacks elegance. The ability to mould a phrase to his advantage, to whittle a melodic line so that it precisely suits the dramatic sentiment of the moment is not yet his. He simply sings - articulately, it is true, but with no especial sensitivity or eloquence.

In addition, he has not yet developed a large color range, a fact that makes him depend largely on the natural timbre of his voice. As a result, one felt that Mr. Barioni was coasting on his native skills rather than actually creating a rounded,

artistic portrait of Rodolfo. Still, his career is before him, and a rewarding career it should be. His basic gifts are sound as bronze. They only want a bit of polishing.

The production as a whole was distinctly without charm, heart or humor, a condition for which Maestro Cleva must be held substantially responsible. The strictness and inflexibility of his beat and the general rigidity of his interpretation quite robbed the score of its customary moon-glow Indeed, even the warm and vibrant singing offered by Miss Albanese and Mr. Bastianini was not sufficient to offset the stern, unsmiling performance in the pit.

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