La Bohème

la-boheme-a-scene-from-act-iii-photo-by-cory-weaver

Yes, you’ll cry. Your senses and sentimentality will be torn asunder by this Met Opera production. But you will experience a reawakening of your humanity (even after dinner) that is seldom achieved in a theater seat. THIS “La Bohème” is just superlative!

First of all, the sets are the original Franco Zeffirelli (1981) that portray Paris bohemian living in the 19th Century. Except for the Act Two street scenes, everything looks COLD.

Shivering in their garret, the four artists are visited by Mimi, a neighbor, who is equally cold and they commiserate about their misfortunes. Rodolfo (Piotr Beczala) immediately falls for her (Kristine Opolais) and the entire opera charts their love and difficulties.

What is so poignant, touching and replete with delicatesse is the direction of each scene. The singers are left to their expertise and they are superb. But it is the way in which the plot is embellished with playfulness, a smidge of slapstick, then deep regard and empathy for frail Mimi from Rodolfo’s friends that really “gets to you” as the story resolves into tragedy.

Did I mention the music? Oh, how Puccini knew how to pull on our heart strings. Each phase is lyrical, uplifting, tender and dolorous in turn. A truly beautiful tone poem of life in the artists’ world of that time.

If you can’t see it “in the flesh,” our evening was broadcast on SiriusXM Ch. 74 and streamed at metopera.org.

Barbara Tober

 

 

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