On the evening of Tuesday the 12th of February the combined tour group attended the London Coliseum for the English National Opera’s performance of Puccini’s La Boheme. La Bohème tells the story of Rodolfo and his love for Mimi, a young seamstress whom he meets that Christmas Eve night. Over the course of a couple of hours, Puccini treats us to some of the most ravishing and famous opera arias and stunning orchestration.
The set was two story opening with the home of the Bohemians and revolving to reveal cafe Moman and street scene in act 2 which was then transformed with falling snow in act 3 before reverting to the Bohemians home in act 4.
The soloists were in fine form, with energetic ensemble from the four Bohemians in the opening, and heartfelt arias and duets from Rudolfo and Mimi, but it was Musetta that stole the show and all our attention with her stage presence and impressive vocals in act 2. The chorus were active throughout act 2 using all the levels of the set to great advantage, there was always something happening throughout the action of the street and cafe scene.
Romantic opera never ends very cheerfully; but in the hands of Puccini, it’s always exquisitely beautiful. Some of the magic of Puccini’s poignant through composed score was lost with the English translation rather than Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa’s original Italian libretto; although this was expected as it is a long standing tradition that all ENO operas are performed in English.
Written by Erin Holmes