As a keen opera enthusiast and a huge admirer of La Boheme, I enjoyed this production. My favourite La Bohemes are still the 1988, 1982 and 1965 productions, however this production is lovely and moving. The stage looks amazing and used to great effect in act 2. I do think however at the start of the opera it did look a little too homely, not quite my idea of a cold garret setting. The costumes look beautiful and quite evocative, and the camera work, picture quality, sound and lighting are excellent. As you would expect, the music is incredibly poignant particularly Donde Leita Uschi and the whole of the last act, likewise with the story even with the odd amusing moment like the interaction between Musetta and Marcello and the business with the dinner bill. The staging also helps, with no signs of overdoing or under-doing it, the orchestra produce a fresh, sympathetic sound and the conducting is well judged without plodding. The performances are excellent, Alexia Voulgaridu is a very moving Mimi, the last act completely belongs to her and she makes the most of it. Donde Leita Uschi and Si Mi Chiamano Mimi are also sensitively sung. The more I hear and see Rolando Villazon, the more he grows on me. Despite his Mr Bean-like persona, Rodolfo is a perfect role for him, and not only does he act ardent but he sings with lovely tone with no straining on the top. Of the support cast, Elena De La Merced is a witty, charming and seductive Musetta, she is occasionally a little shrill vocally but considering the character it works, and Markus Marquardt is a noble Colline, but for me the standout was Ludovic Tezier's powerful Marcello, wonderful singing and acting throughout, particularly in act 3. Overall, a very good production of an eternal favourite. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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