Saturday, 10 May 2014


I went to see Opera North's latest production of Puccini's La Boheme last night at the Leeds Grand Theatre. Those who know this fantastic piece of music will know that it’s a story of love at first sight when young struggling artist Rodolfo meets the poor seamstress Mimi in the grim reality of penniless life in the cold the Parisian Winter.

This stylish production by director Phyllida Lloyd marries glorious music, stunning sets and colourful costumes in a unique spectacle telling the ultimate tragic love story. With its vivid portrayal of Parisian life, the excitement of falling in love and the desolation of loss, this is Puccini at his glorious best! I enjoyed the evening especially the orchestral playing which was great. The set was simple and worked OK and generally the passionate and appealing young cast were good... Lorna James was strong and feisty Musetta, Phillip Rhodes was a powerful Marcello and Gabriela Istoc an attractive and appealing Mimi. Watching this perform,acne reminds you that "the unamplified human voice, supported by orchestra, singing about raw emotions does something extraordinary to you", so it was a shame that Sebastien Gueze's Rudolfo was so poor. It a very weak performance from Gueze with him pushing his voice too hard, and sounding harsh and tuneless at times. Still live performance is wonderful and I suppose he did his best! I was sad to have missed Ji-min Park, especially as we had read the reviews of his performances.

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