PUCCINI: La Bohème

Then, unless one subscribed to the latest technological advance,
“Cable,” one was limited to three commercial, two UHF local channels, and
PBS. Archie Bunker was scandalizing society with his antics on All in the
, and Johnny Carson reigned as the “Golden Boy” of late night
TV,1 and in 1976,
another first: Live from Lincoln Center. That first year there were
four presentations by the New York Philharmonic, two performances by the
American Ballet Theater, and three operatic productions by the New York City
Opera.2 The benefit
from the exposure and the success of the broadcasts could not have gone
unnoticed by the Grand Old Dame across the square. Thus, whether planned or
by coincidence,3 on
March 15, 1977, PBS introduced Live from the Met with a production of
Puccinis La BohËme, starring Renata Scotto and the
then “darling” of opera, Luciano Pavarotti. The broadcast was an immediate
success, gathering an audience of more than four million viewers.4 To date, over one
hundred performances have been broadcast “Live from the Met” stage.5 It all seems so long
ago, now, but it isnt: thirty years to be exact and a lot of water has gone
over the dam.

With a name like Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini,
the last of the great musicians bearing his surname, he could not help but
succeed. Like his predecessors, Giacomo Puccini left his hometown of Lucca to
study music, but unlike them, young Giacomo did not return to the Medieval
city and the safety of a Church job; instead, he stayed in Milan to pursue
his musical career. Documentation of Puccinis Conservatory years is sketchy,
at best, but upon reading his letters to his family and friends, one learns
that it had not been easy and his determination to become a composer
outweighed the disadvantages.6 In the end, those early years paid off:
they gave Puccini first hand knowledge and insight into a lifestyle, which
would later bear fruit in La BohËme.7

Puccini appears to have discussed Henry Murgers Scenes de la vie de
Ëme8with his librettist, Luigi Illica,
prior to 1893, but no official announcement was made and the idea went no
further than the discussion stage. This all changed after the premiere of
Manon Lescaut in Turin on February 1, 1893.

Returning to Milan, Puccini had a casual encounter with his old friend and
fellow composer, Ruggiero Leoncavallo,9 to whom Puccini mentioned that he was
working on a new opera based on Murgers work. Surprised, Leoncavallo, who had
also led La vie BohËme in Paris between 1882 and 1887, replied that he, too,
was working on an opera based on the same story.10 Furthermore, he reminded Puccini that,
years before, he had rejected Leoncavallos suggestion of Murgers work for an
operatic plot as unsuitable.11 After this unpleasant exchange and
accusations, both musicians made public announcements of their intentions to
compose an opera based on Murgers stories.

On March 19, 1893, Leoncavallo published his side of the story in Il
. In his defense, the composer said that Victor Maurel could
testify that Leoncavallo had spoken to him, when the singer was in Milan for
the rehearsals of Falstaff, about writing the role of Schaunard for the
famous baritone.12
Leoncavallo also mentions that he had discussed the opera with soprano Elisa
(Lison) Frandin in November of 1892-before Puccini claimed to have started
his opera.

In a letter to the editor, published in Corriere della Sera on
March 21, 1893, Puccini feigned innocence saying that had he known of
Leoncavallos intentions, he would have never considered Murgers tragic tale
for a libretto; he further states that at this point it was too late for him
to be “courteous” to stop with his work on the new opera. Puccini ended the
letter with a challenge to Leoncavallo: to continue with his version of the
opera, saying that a story could be interpreted with different artistic
values and that the public would be the final judge.

As would happen more than once, this rivalry stung Puccinis ego and
spurned him to proceed full force ahead with the opera. The friendship
between the two composers never recovered from this public confrontation and
Puccini, until the end of his life, ridiculed Leoncavallo whenever and
wherever he had the opportunity. This conflict with Leoncavallo would be the
first, but not the last time Puccini would finesse a work, or attempt to,
from another compose or author. The notion that he could take something away
from its rightful place-be it a libretto or a woman, as with his wife to be,
Elvira13-was an elixir
for Puccini.14 It
appears that part of the challenge for the composer was in the chase and not
in the results. Puccini, at times, would quickly tire of his conquests and
casually set them aside, soon to be forgotten.15

The libretto for La BohËme, by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe
Giacosa,16 would be
the first in a difficult series of collaborations between the publisher,
composer, dramatist, and poet.

Writing to the publisher, Tito Ricordi, the poet Giacosa,17 the least enamored
with the tempestuous and demanding composer, complained of the “exhausting
pedantry” and the lack of “stimulation and inner warmth” in the libretto.
Giacosa acknowledged to Ricordi that a work of art was a labor of love
requiring many hours of sacrifice, but the rewards came in those periods of
inspiration that prompted any artist to continue. In writing a libretto for
Puccini, Giacosa continues, there was nothing to raise the spirit.”18

Illica, too, had expressed concern over Puccinis intentions in a letter to
the publisher.19
Illica further believed that Puccini was too intoxicated with the success of
Manon Lescaut and using it as an excuse to stop working on the new
opera. Ricordi, the composers most fervent supporter had some doubts, too,
and replied to Illica from Paris, on November 2, 1893, ” You know very well
how filled with fervor Puccini was, how he absolutely wanted
thatsubject, and the subsequent angry exchange of letters with
Leoncavallo. And now … is he shaking in his pants at the first
difficulties?” Meanwhile, Puccini complained to Ricordi in a letter written
on September 25, 1893, “…how can I set to music such long, drawn-out verses
that should at least be condensed or possible even rewritten…?”20

But, back to 1977 and Puccinis La BohËme ….

Live from the Met premiered on Renata Scottos birthday and what should
have been a moment of celebration, was anything but. Pavarotti snubbed the
soprano by neglecting to appear at the birthday party taking place in the
sopranos dressing room.21

Scotto laments in autobiography, “A long time ago I had known this man and
worked with him22 We had been friends, but as his career grew
in every sense he began to be less a colleague and more an adversary of his
first Italian friends.23 For those at home and in the audience on
the night of the broadcast, this tidbit of information would have come as a
surprise; on stage, the two singers came off as though they were, in fact, in
love with each other. Hindsight, and Scottos autobiography, tells us
differently and today we can understand why there are some gaps in the stage
direction for the two artists playing Puccinis lovers.24

Scottos Metropolitan Opera debut took place on October 13, 1965, playing
another Puccini doomed heroine, Cio-Cio-San, in Madama Butterfly.
Though a qualified success, the Met management only offered Scotto the same
four roles: Lucia (4), Cio-Cio-San (9), Adina in LElisis damore (4),
and Violetta in Traviata (3) during her first three seasons with the
company.25 Frustrated
and disappointed, the soprano turned down any more engagements at the opera
house until the Met offered her a wider variety of roles to develop her

Altogether, Scotto sang over 300 performances at the Met by the time she
retired 22 years later, on January 17, 1987, in the same role of her debut,
Cio-Cio-San, in Madama Butterfly.26

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Scotto sang a variety of roles
throughout her career and received an inordinate amount of criticism and
unfair comparisons to other singers, but through it all, Scotto was Scotto
and no one else. Early in Scottos career she was often compared to Toti dal
Monte and many other singers, Mafalda Favero, in particular. By her own
admission, this comparison to “the great and underestimated Italian soprano,”
pleased Scotto. “But I never copied her, … I copied no one …”27

It is difficult to speak of Scottos singing apart from her acting. The two
are one, and even her detractors will acknowledge her ability to highlight
the meaning of every word she sings and the significance of her every
gesture. In Act I she is vulnerable, naÔve, and seductive and when Rodolfo
casually, touches her hand as they are looking for MimÏs key, Scotto is
innocence personified: “Ah!” she cries our of surprise and pleasure; the
emotions clearly defined in her face. She turns to Rodolfo and speaks
silently with her eyes as only a teen-ager in love can speak. Lost in the
fantasy of the characters emotions, Scottos face is a mirror for MimÏs soul:
she changes from anguish, sorrow, and despair to happiness, joy and abandon
as she listens to Rodolfo and imagines the fulfillment of her inner

“Mi chiamano MimÏ” gives Scotto ample opportunity to display her craft.
This seamstress is hopeful, “Son Tranquilla e lieta…,” yet all woman when
she asks Rodolfo, “Lei mintende?” As if embarrassed, she turns away and once
again becomes the young girl, only to succumb to her need for the man next to
her: the deliberate break in the words in “Vivo sola, soletta,” giving
emphasis to “soletta,” as she coyly looks at Rodolfo, then turns away as
though retracting the invitation to her inner world. Scottos eyes look into
the distance of MimÏs longings (“Ma cuando vien lo sgelo”) awakening in her a
deeper emotion and unspoken feelings. Once more, she turns from Rodolfo, lost
in her own thoughts, “Il primo bacio … il mrimo sole emio….” Suddenly,
realizing she is exposing her innermost secrets, she returns to reality and
changes the tone of her singing and the emotion in her face (“Altro di me”).
Scottos histrionics are well placed and she conveys the elation, sadness,
hope, and happiness of the character. The aria ends with well deserved shouts
of “Brava.”

Acts III and IV are classic Scotto and belong to no one but the soprano.
MimÏs aria with Marcello, “Rodolfo mama … Un passo, un detto,” is
emotionally charged with carefully placed breaks in the voice and the use of
parlando to give emphasis to her pain. Later in the act with Rodolfo
she is resigned in “Donde lieta useÏ,” suplicant in “Se vuoi, se vuoi,” as
though fearful of the alternative. The sustained piano in “Addio, addio,
senza rancor,” at the end of the aria, elicits more shouts of “Brava.”28 In Act IV, Scotto is
haunting and the pallor of her eminent death is always present in her voice.
Her MimÏ is believable and one, maybe, two singers come to mind who could
equal Scottos interpretation.

Overall, Scotto is a winning singing actress. Throughout, Scottos
instrument easily soars over the orchestra and imbues her singing with a
touch of sensuous abandon. She colors and shades her singing to perfection
with subtle nuances and one forgives her those moments when one knows, “she
should have done it better.” Other singers may have had a more beautiful
timbre, others may lay claim to a better technique, and yet others may have
sung a more beautiful MimÏ, but few have sung a performance as emotionally
charged and believable as Scottos seamstress in this DVD.29

Luciano Pavarotti made his professional debut on April 29, 1961, as
Rodolfo, in La BohËme and the role remained a favorite throughout
the tenors career.30
By the time of this broadcast performance, the Italian tenor had become a
Metropolitan Opera favorite, but he had also begun to sing heavier roles and
the strain, though minor, show in several passages, specifically in “Che
gelida manina” where the tenors high note is less than perfect, albeit sung
in the original key. In spite of this and his very limited acting ability,31 few tenors could sing
as beautifully as Pavarotti-and that he does in this performance.

Pavarotti was blessed with a clear diction, perfect pitch and an unusual
ease for delivering high notes which earned him the title of “King of High
Cs.” Altogether, Pavarottis association with the Metropolitan Opera spanned
36 years and he sang 383 performances.32

Regardless of whatever differences there may have been between Scotto and
Pavarotti, they both sing superbly in this performance.

From the beginning, Puccini was credited with having the “gift of melody,
[of being] a master of orchestration and [of having a] rare comprehension of
dramatic effect.”33
Hard compliments to accept for the shy, modest, and depressive, yet shrewd
and driven composer.

It is this gift of melody and orchestration and his comprehension of
dramatic effect which saved BohËme from being the total failure it
had been predicted by the public and reviewers on opening night, February 1,
1896. Though for many, today, it may be difficult to understand, the negative
reports are not without some merit, and Puccini was well aware of the damage
the failure of the opera would have on his career: though Catalani was
deceased, Leoncavallo and Mascagni could still be a challenge to the title of
Verdis successor, which Puccini eagerly sought..34

That night, the audience was polite, but not overly enthusiastic; the
applause was warm but not thunderous; and the reviews were spiteful and
violent. There was criticism for the second act which appeared to be more
operetta than serious opera (Gazzetta del Popolo);
BohËmewas a rushed work which would not leave its mark on the lyric
stage (La Stampa); and in general, the music had not depth
(Gazzetta di Torino). 35

It has been generally acknowledged by critics and biographers that, along
with the high public expectation for the composer of the highly celebrated
Manon Lescaut to out-do himself, there was also resentment for all the
publicity announcing the new work; in the composers mind, his enemies
circulated negative reports about the opera, and the composer wanted a
different cast. The libretto must have troubled him, too, for changes had
been considered almost to the last minute, and though Puccini liked the
conductor, Toscanini was not his first choice. But more than this, Wagner
deserves the credit for BohemËs failure:
Gˆtterdmmerung had turned
musical taste in Turing upside down after its premiere a few weeks before
BohËmes. Wagners opera had shocked Italians into a
new musical reality and offered them a new lens through which to view the art
form. Compared to Wagner, Puccini must have appeared a novice; the
unnecessary antics in his BohemË: a failed attempt at
serious music.

Maralin Niska made her Metropolitan Opera debut on March 17, 1970, as
Violetta in Verdis Traviata. Her short stint with the company lasted
eight seasons and included 42 performancess, of which, Musetta, was the most
performed (26).36 She
had a successful career at the New York City Opera but was never able to
reach the level of stardom. Niskas voice has at times been called “steely”
and “brittle,” yet coupled with her (over) acting style she was the perfect
foil for Scottos more demure and dramatically correct interpretation. Niskas
voice was not beautiful but she had great musical instinct and she was a
great interpreter of Janaceks heroine Elina in Vec Makropulos and
Strauss deranged teenager, Salome.

It is the fate of Musetta to always be played-overplayed-as though she
were the principal character, and Niskas interpretation is no different. This
Musetta is loud, mistaking the librettos cue of “impudent” with artificial
and vulgar. There is no subtle longing for Marcello, or connection between
the words she is singing and the characters inner emotions. Her histrionics
are often out of place and her actions exaggerated. Niska makes up for it in
Act IV where she displays a real sense of understanding and pity.

Swedish baritone, Ingvar Wixells career with the Metropolitan Opera was
two years shorter than Niskas, yet he sang almost twice as many performances
leaving one to wonder, why such a short career with the company? In spite of
being criticized by some for being too “grainy,” Wixell was powerful
Rigoletto, in Verdis opera by the same name. Wixell has been called a superb
musician and he could easily reach deep into the characters emotions as he
does, here, with Marcellos. This was the first time he essayed the role of
Marcello at the Metropolitan.37

Paul Plishka made his Metropolitan Opera debut on June 27, 1967 in the
role of Bonze in a performance of Puccinis Madama Butterfly at the
Bronx Botanical Garden. To date, he has sung over 1500 performances with the
company in operas as varied as Aida, Fidelio, Contes
, Parsifal, Nozze di Figaro, Lucia,
Boris Godunov and many more. Recently, Plishka took on the role of
the Sacristan in Puccinis Tosca, and this summer he sang the dual
roles of Benoit and Alcindoro in Puccinis BohËme.38 Plishka is well suited
for the role of Colline, and his youthful looks fit the part of the
philosopher with a penchant for humor. His “Vecchia zimara” is not as
emotionally involved as one would prefer, but musically it is well sung.

The Schaunard of Canadian baritone, Allan Monk, is very pleasant
considering the limitations of the role. His rendition of “A quanldo le
lezioni?” to the end of the scene, when Benoit makes his entrance, is
cleverly amusing and well sung.

Monk had a repectable ten year career at the Metropolitan Opera and sang
272 performances from March 27, 1976 to March 15, 189639

Italo Tajo is the quintessential Benoit, giving his character a seldom
found life-like quality. This landlord is sympathetic, shy and carries the
timidity of his your into his old age without shame or apology. He enjoys
being surrounded by his younger tenants who make him feel their equal and
comfortable enough to disclose his pecadillos. Tajo sang at the
Metropolitan Opera from December 28, 1948 (Don Basilio in Rossinis
Babieri di Siviglia) to April 20, 1991 (the Sacristan in Puccinis
Tosca), a total of 255 performances.40 Tajo was a well known singer in Europe as
well, but in the USA he was better known for singing character roles.

On the other hand, Andrea Velis almost made it a deliberate choice to sing
character roles. Starting on October 23, 1961, Velis sang 1693 roles at the
Metropolitan Opera, ending on February 24, 1994.41 His Alcindoro is well sung and dignified
instead of the standard buffoon caricature of an older, wealthy, man
infatuated with a younger woman.

This new production by Pier Luigi Pizzi, and borrowed from the Chicago
Lyric Opera, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera four weeks before the
television broadcast. At the time it was considered “state of the Art.”
Looking back at the production, Act I is rather sterile and typical of the
70s pseudo modern ideas: vast, dark and empty spaces dwarfing the characters;
a bit too psycho-impressionistic. The scenery in Act II is, in sharp contrast
to the previous act, realistic and quite effective in spite of being peopled,
as is always the case, with more singers, street vendors, clowns, dancers,
children and animals than are necessary, while engaging in unrealistic
activities for a cold Paris winter night. The Tollgate Scene (Act III) is
superb and succeeds in marrying the conflicting moods and emotions in the

Live performance can, at times, have their amusing, tense, moments which
the public may not necessarily notice. One such moment is the end of the
curtain call, after the applause has been acknowledged and the singers
customarily engage in the cat-and-mouse game of “Who is going to be last
person to leave the stage?”

At the end of the curtain call after Act II, as Scotto started to walk
back stage and aware that Niska was posturing, she reached to the singer to
walk off stage together. Niska quickly slipped away and pushed Scotto ahead.
In a few seconds all the singers were out, again, for a second bow. After
acknowledging the applause, Scotto, who had Wixell between her and Niska,
dropped Wixells hand and quickly reached for Niskas with a tug, to indicate
it was time to go. Scottos not to be misunderstood action took place so
quickly, Niska did not realize what was happening to her long after she was
led off-stage.

The not so subtle maneuver did not get lost on Niska, or any of the other
cast members: Scotto is the star of the show!

Daniel Pardo 2007


La BohËme
Liner Notes
Joseph Wechsberg
1974 RCA Records
New York

Chapters of Opera
Henry Edward Krehbiel
1908 Henry Edward Krehbiel
Henry Holt & Co. New York

Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music
Edited by Don Michael Randel
1996 President and Fellows at Harvard College
Belknap PressCambirdge, Massachusetts and London England

Live from Lincoln

Metropolitan Opera Annals
William H. Seltsam
1947 H. W. Wilson Company
H. W. Wilson Company
Metropolitan Opera Guild
New York

Metropolitan Opera Archives
New York

Monsieur Butterfly
Stanley Jackson1974
Stanley Jackson
Stein and DayNew York

Broadcasting Service

Pietro Mascagni and his Operas
Alan Mallach
2002 Alan Mallach
Northeastern University PressBoston

Howard Greenfeld
1980 Howard Greenfeld
G.P. Putnams SonsNew York

Renata Scotto and Octavio Roca
1984 Octavio Roca and Renata Scotto
Doubleday & Co.
Garden City, New York

Joseph Wechsberg
1974 George Weidenfeld and Nicholson
G. P. Putnams Sons
New York


1-The Public Broadcasting Service was
founded in 1969, it merged with NET, and began broadcasting the following
year. Starting with Upstairs Downstairs, and followed with
Elizabeth R, Henry VIII,I Claudius, and Nature,
PBS quickly set itself apart with a new programming standard in television.

2-Douglas Moore s The Ballad of Baby
, April 21, 1976; Rossini s Il Barbiere di Siviglia,
November 3, 1976; and Massenet s Manon, October 18, 1977.There was
another program that first year, “AndrÈWatts in Recital,” presented aspart
of”Great Performers at Lincoln Center.”

3– The Met had more than once taken
advantage of television, as with the 1948-49 Season Opening night of Otello,
the first televised performance from the Metropolitan stage.

Metropolitan Opera

5– These broadcasts have long ago
ceased to be “live.” Today, they are compiled from several taped performances
and broadcast as one “live” performance at a later date. Recently, the new
management at the Met has begun to broadcast live performances on Sirius
radio, as well as movie theater broadcasts in selected cities.

6-More information and details on
Puccini s early years in Milan can be garnered from his contemporaries,
fellow students and teachers at the Conservatory, and friends letters and

7-La BohËmeCapriccio Sinfonico

8– Le Corsaire,La vie de BohËme Manon

9– Leoncavallo was one of the many who
collaborated on the libretto for Manon Lescaut.

10-While the two libretti follow the same
characters, Marcello and Musetta s relationship is better defined in
Leoncavallo s opera and unlike in Puccini s opera,Marcello is a tenor, and
Musetta is a Mezzo-soprano; the role of Rodolfo is asssigned to a

11-There is reason to believe that Puccini
did take Leoncavallo s idea for BohËme and passed it on to his
librettists:in Muger s work, Mimi dies alone in the hospital, whereas in
Leoncavallo s libretto, written by himself, she dies in Rodolfo s room-as in
the Puccini opera.As the two operas premiered within months of each other, it
would not have been possible, nor would it have been logical, for Leoncavallo
to alter his libretto to mimic Puccini’s.

12– Preparations for Falstaff started in
September of 1892 and La Scala became available for general rehearsals on
January 3, 1893-five weeks before its premiere on February 9, 1893.

13-Elvira Bontini Gemignani, Puccini s
mistress and later his wife, was already married to Puccini s long time
friend, Narciso Gemignani, a successful merchant in Lucca, when Puccini
started an affair with her.

14-Originally, Tosca was to be set to music
by Baron Alberto Franchetti until Puccini connived with Ricordi to take the
libretto away from Franchetti. To the benefit of future generations, Puccini
did get the libretto and composed what many consider to be his masterpiece.

15-More than once Puccini refused to work
on Boheme, to the frustration of all involved.

16– Giacosa and Illica had contributed to
the Manon Lescautlibretto after the original draft by Marco Praga
and Domenico Oliva was reworked by Ruggero Leoncavallo, Giulio Ricordi, and
possibly Puccini, but the libretto for La BohËmewould be the first
in which Illica and Giacosa would work together as a team. Lasting a short
eleven years, the Giacosa and Illica team contributed four libretti for
Puccini: Manon Lescaut, 1893, La BohËme, 1896,
Tosca, 1900, and Madama Butterfly, 1904. The collaboration
ended prematurely with Giacosa s unexpected death in 1906.

17-Little known today but for his
collaborations with Illica on the libretti for Puccini s operas, Giuseppe
Giacosa (1847-1906) was a well known and respected theatrical and literary
figure. Originally trained as a lawyer, Giacosa later turned to literature
and theater after the success of his one act comedy, Una partita a
. Giacosa s plays were performed by the most famous artists of
the day, including Eleonora Duse and Sarah Bernhardt; he lectured at the
Milan Conservatory, wrote poetry, and was the editor of the influential
literary periodical, La Lettura. Methodical and detailed, Giacosa
was not accustomed to Puccini s sudden outbursts or the stress of working
with a composer who required constant changes to the libretto. For his
patience and physical appearance, Puccini dubbed him “Buddha.”

18-Greenfeld, 1980, p.

19-In October of 1893, Illica wrote to
Ricordi, “Is Puccini already tired of BohËme? … I know very well
that Puccini is a watch that winds and unwinds easily. But in any kind of
watch time passes very quickly and does not turn back and each loss of
enthusiasm is a disappointment and further discouragement.”

20-Greenfeld, 1980, p. 90

21-“The premiere took place on my
birthday, and there was cake in my dressing room and reporters around. My
Rodolfo would not accept any of Mimi s cake and did not even come by to wish
me a happy birthday ….” Scotto/Roca, 1984, p.161

22– Scotto had sung with Pavarotti in a
production of I Lombardi in Rome (November 20, 1969), in which the tenor
often came late to rehearsals and made no attempt to conceal his ignorance of
the score

23– Scotto/Roca, 1984, p. 161

24-Most glaringly is the lack of physical
interaction, between the two singers, leading to “Che gelida manina.” in Act
I and Pavarotti s lack of interest or eye contact with the soprano in other
key moments in the opera.

25– Metropolitan Opera Archives

26Scotto at the Metropolitan

27-Scotto/Roca, 1984, p. 85

28– Throughout the aria, Scotto does not
stop wringing the handkerchief in her hands

29-“My mother worked all day sewing and
would hope to keep her hands warm enough in winter to be able to go on using
them. One day I would sing of a seamstress like my mother, and I would
understand Mimi s sweet desperation and her happiness by remembering Santina
the seamstress as she worked and sang.” Scotto/Roca, 1984, p. 5

30– Rodolfo was also Pavarotti s debut role
at the Metropolitan Opera on November 23, 1968.

31– Pavarotti s acting abilities never went
beyond the stereotypical out stretched arms, furrowed brows, open mouth, and
wide eyes to denote resignation,anguish, surprise and pleasure

32Pavarotti at the Metropolitan

33– London Standard May,

34-The knowledge that, in 1896, Verdi
“offered the entire material on King Lear to Pietro Mascagni,” must have
stung Puccini s ego. Wechsberg, 1974, p. 204

35-Its Metropolitan Opera premiere on
December 26, 1900 was equally disappointing: none other than Henry Krehbiel
of the Tribune wrote that La BohËmeis foul in subject, and
fulminant and futile in its music…. It is “silly and inconsequential; a
“twin sister” of Verdi s Traviata, but not as good.

36Niska at the Metropolitan

37Wixell at the Metropolitan

38Plishka at the Metropolitan

39Monk at the Metropolitan

40Tajo at the Metropolitan

41Velis at the Metropolitan

image_description=Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème
product_title=Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème
product_by=MimÏ: Renata Scotto
Rodolfo: Luciano Pavarotti
Marcello: Ingvar Wixell
Musetta: Maralin Niska
Colline: Paul Plishka
Schaunard: Alan Monk
Benoit: Italo Tajo
Alcindoro: Andrea Velis
Parpignol: Dale Caldwell
Sergente: Paul De Paola
Un doganiere: Domenico Simeone
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, James Levine (cond.)
product_id=Deutsche Grammophon 073 4025 [DVD]