[Met Performance] CID:295640

La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, March 8, 1989

Debut : Kallen Esperian

La Bohème (936)
Giacomo Puccini | Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa
Kallen Esperian [Debut]

Plácido Domingo

Carol Neblett

Paolo Coni

David Hamilton

John Cheek

Renato Capecchi

John Hanriot

Paul De Paola

Donald Peck

Nello Santi

Review 1:

Bernard Holland in The New York Times
A New Mimi in “La Bohème”

Kallen Esperian took the part of Mimi at the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of “La Bohème” on Wednesday evening. Miss Esperian is from Chicago, has won a number of auditions and competitions, and in the last few years has begun making the rounds of the American and European opera circuit. This was her Met debut.

Miss Esperian’s greatest asset is her personality. She is a passionate Mimi without being a sloppy or exaggerated one. Indeed, on the Met’s big stage, “Mi chiamano Mimi” came across almost as quiet conversation. Miss Esperian, we are told, began as a mezzo-soprano but has since eased her voice upward in to soprano roles like this one by Puccini. In it preset state, hers in not an instrument of magnitude.

As one would expect, the bottom is comfortable and full, while the top notes have a tendency to narrow and harden. Mimi is above all a test of the transitional middle register, and Miss Esperian’s is still traced with huskiness.

What she possesses as a singer Miss Esperian uses well, even though the gigantism of Franco Zeffirelli’s production is probably not the best setting in which to show it off. This is a performer intelligent enough to reject stock responses to a familiar role and to express herself simply and musically. One hopes, however, that she is not one of those singers trapped irrevocably between two voice categories.

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