Arts & Entertainment

Review: La Bohème

Photo: Branco Gaica

Gail Edwards’ much lauded production of La Bohème returns to open Opera Australia’s Summer Season with some new cast members and some familiar faces.

In this tragic tale of first love, Natalie Aroyan plays the consumptive seamstress Mimi, while Yosep Kang sings Rodolfo, her confused and fickle lover.

Rodolfo’s companions in artistic poverty are the painter Marcello, sung by Andrew Jones, while Richard Anderson and Shane Lowrencev reprise their roles as Colline the philosopher and Schaunard the eccentric musician respectively.

In setting the story in Germany’s Weimar Republic of the 1930s, rather than Paris in the 1830s, Edwards modernised the production and gave set designer Brian Thomson the opportunity to create the interior of a spiegeltent on stage.

The two-tiered café scene in particular stands out as a show-stopper when the flirtatious Musetta, vivaciously sung by Lorina Gore, takes centre stage for her self-admiring song, ‘When I walk alone in the street/ People stop and stare at me/ And everyone looks at my beauty,/ Looks at me,/ From head to foot…’

Conductor Carlo Montanaro wrings the emotion from the orchestra and by the fateful denoument, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. (ID)

Until March 23. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. $44–$330. Tickets & info: opera.org.au or (02) 9318 8200

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