|Mimi||Emma Buratti / Alexandra Robertson|
|Rodolfo||Robert Watson / James Edwards|
|Schaunard||Robert Gildon / Paul Sheehan|
Surrey Opera return to Chequer Mead with a new production of this ever-popular opera.
Set in Paris, La Bohème is said to be Puccini's most enchanting opera. The tale of the seamstress Mimi and her doomed love for the poet Rodolfo is combined with a heartrendingly beautiful score.
Sung in English with full orchestra, adult and children's choruses, this promises to be an unforgettable event.
With an opera performed as often as this, it is often difficult to find anything new to remark on - not so with Surrey Opera's new production which has been running through June at various theatres across the South East.
From thr moment the curtain opened on the two students Rodolfo (James Edwards) and Marcello (Tim Baldwin), it was clear that this was going to be a simple, fresh production.
Sets and costumes were traditional without being overly fussy - the sets in particular giving the right feel of student life in the Bohemian quarter of Paris ... an impressive sense of realism was achieved throughout.
This was largely due also to the fact that the casts were predomxpinantly very young - as Puccini intended them to be ... James Edwards brought a boyish charm to Rodolfo, and was consistently believable in his scenes with Alexandra Robertson's superbly sung Mimi. Even in her final death scenes, her voice was totally controlled and expressive, as was her characterisation of the seamstress.
The supporting roles were uniformly strong. Tim Baldwin's mature warmth as Marcello. Also impressive were the laddish antics of Rob Gildon and Andy McWilliams as Shaunard and Colline respectively. Lawrence Reed gave a scene-stealing cameo as Benoit, and Jady Pearl sang Musetta beautifully, adding a suitable touch of glamour.
The chorus and children were also good; every word was audible, especially from thoses involved in the difficult scene opening Act III.
Jonathan Butcher handled Puccini's beautiful score excellently and Francesca Gilpin achieved a rare sense of credibility throughout,
Last modified 25th March 2002
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