I have always been a huge opera fan, and when it comes to Puccini La Boheme is my second favourite opera of his after Tosca. The story is very poignant(though there are some subtle bits of humour) with an ending that is impossible not to get emotional by- even when you've or heard the opera many times so you know what happens- and all the characters are believable.
But my favourite asset of La Boheme, as is the case with quite a lot of operas, is Puccini's music. It is such beautiful music and is one of the main reasons why the opera is a real tear jerker for me. Che Glenida Manina, Si Ci Chiamamo Mimi, O Soave Fanciulla, Quando M'en Vo, the act 3 quartet and In Up Coupe...? are some of the best pieces Puccini ever wrote in my opinion, but they're not the only worthwhile arias/duets, the entire opera is exquisite music from start to finish.
This production, assuredly directed by Kirk Browning, is absolutely beautiful. It is not my favourite production of the opera, it's between the 1988 production and the 1965 film, however for me it is up there as one of the better ones. The sets and costumes look wonderful, and there is some excellent video directing.
The orchestra gets the emotional core of the score just right, and this is helped by the conducting which has a very romantic and yearning approach to it. And the ending is just heart-rending.
The performances I have no qualms with either. Teresa Stratas is a very poignant Mimi, and Jose Carreras is more than a perfect match for her. While occasionally a tad shrill on her high notes, Renata Scotto's Musetta is suitably feisty and very entertaining. Richard Stilwell and Allan Monk are solid as Marcello and Schunard, Italo Tajo is great as Alcindoro/Benoit and James Morris is quite effective in the role of Colline and nicely delicate in Vecchio Zimmara.
In conclusion, a beautiful production. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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