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La Bohème

From it's premiere in 1896, La Bohème has remained one of the most popular operas in the canon (as well as serving as the inspiration for the hit musical, Rent), and it's easy to see why in this well-conceived and staged production by Opera Colorado.

Cafe Momus
Café Momus
Photo: Matthew Staver
 
The highlights begin with the beautifully sung love story of Mimi (Anya Matanovic), an embroiderer, and Rodolfo (Dominick Chenes), a writer. The stage chemistry of the pair radiates through the Ellie along with the sweet melodic waves of Matanovic's soaring soprano and Chenes expressive tenor.

Anya Matanovic as Mimi and Dominick Chens as Rodolfo
Anya Matanovic as Mimi
and Dominick Chens as Rodolfo
Photo: Matthew Staver
Giacomo Puccini's lush score and Luigi Illica's succinct libretto capture the emotional essence and societal dynamics of Paris, in the 1840s; so, while sung in wonderful, vowel-infused Italian, Mimi and Rodofo's relationship is definitely of the French Bohemian variety, which means high artistic ideals, scarce financial resources, and variable emotional attachments; yet, the sweetness lingers, even when they are apart.

Heath Martin as Alcindor and Monica Yunus as Musetta
Heath Martin as Alcindor
and Monica Yunus as Musetta
Photo: Matthew Staver
In constrast, the on-again, off-again love affair of Marcello (Levi Hernandez), the painter, and Musetta (Monica Yunes), a singer, is always volatile, yet they, too, have a difficult time staying apart. All this is beautifully captured in a passionate and heart-filled duet, when they decide that they must stay together for the winter, and then part in the spring, when the weather is not so gloomy.

Despite the tragedy of Mimi's death, the story is filled with humorous scenes: confusing the landlord, Rudolfo hiding Mimi's key, and sticking Musetta's rich, elderly suitor with the bill from Café Momus.

Anya Matanovic as Mimi and Dominick Chenes as Rodolfo
Anya Matanovic as Mimi
and Dominick Chens as Rodolfo
Photo: Matthew Staver
 
The Opera Colorado Orchestra, under the baton of Ari Pelto, brings Puccini's rich, warm melodies to fruition. The Opera Colorado Chorus fills the stage in Act Two with the marvelous energy of Paris' Latin Quarter. The scenery (Dallas Opera) and costumes (Seattle Opera Costume Shop) are picture perfect.

Opera Colorado's presentation of La Bohème runs through November 15th. For tickets: http:operacolorado.org.

Bob Bows



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