Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The last of the bohemians (ROH/Bohème)

Puccini, La bohème (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, cond. Alexander Joel)

I saw the Copley Bohème at the cinema (review). Only the Royal Opera’s second production of the opera, and it isn’t hard to see why it has been so popular. There’s always an advantage in seeing and hearing it in the flesh. Even from a very cheap slips seat (elitist indeed), it filled the afternoon beautifully. I leaned far enough over to see Mimì's hijinks, the trick-shot pool table etc, the death bed scene.  All done in the most lovely way. In particular the third act - the outside scene is simply perfect. 
Some different voices from the relay. Lianna Haroutounian as Mimì would break your heart. 'Mi chiamano Mimì'  in particular was devastatingly poignant. Piotr Beczala too was on good form. The dynamics amongst the young artistic types. The orchestra were on fine form, under Alexander Joel. One advantage of my lofty seat was that I could see Joel did it without a score. But then I rather reckon I could have a shot with Bohème. People know pretty much every note, don’t they? Will he manage the same for Carmen in November?
So the Copley production is almost come to an end. Poisoned chalice alert: I wouldn’t like to design its replacement. Everyone will hate it, whatever there is. 
Overall: very pretty, the perfect Bohème; but not half as thought-provoking as the Grange Park one (review here).

Cast & Credits
Conductor - Alexander Joel
Mimì - Lianna Haroutounian
Rodolfo - Piotr Beczala
Marcello - Levente Molnár
Musetta - Ekaterina Bakanova
Schaunard - Dionysios Sourbis
Colline - Nahuel di Pierro
Benoît - Jeremy White
Alcindoro - Donald Maxwell
Parpignol - Luke Price
Royal Opera Chorus
Concert Master - Sergey Levitin
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Music - Giacomo Puccini
Libretto - Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica
Director - John Copley
Designs - Julia Trevelyan Oman
Lighting design - John Charlton

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