To pursue and sustain a career within the arts is a challenging venture, yet many of us chase the dream. Familiar to many, the thought of earning a living from your very own creativity is an exciting prospect. Tapping into this desire to create, Giacomo Puccini‘s renowned La Bohème captures the tumultuous reality of juggling an ill fated relationship with the daily struggle of pursuing an arts career and making a living.
Inspired by Henri Murger‘s novel Scènes de la vie La Bohème, La Bohème presents four episodic acts of young love gradually disintegrating as the rose tinted glasses begin to fade. Rodolfo, a penniless poet falls for Mimi, a seamstress. It later transpires that she is suffering with an illness that Roldolfo can’t afford the medication for.
Richard Jones directs a jovial yet melancholic evening, Andrzej Filończyk‘s Marcello, Charles Castronovo‘s Rodolfo, Sonya Yoncheva‘s Mimi and Aida Garifullina‘s Musetta enthrall the audience with their effortless vocal prowess, each earning their place on the stage and contributing an element that makes the evening engaging. It’s as if we’re observing the realities of these characters, this largely in part due to the Royal Opera House Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Worksop‘s attention to detail, whether that be with Rodolfo and Marcello’s white panelled, pentagon shaped attic-like home; the elaborate, bright lit, glass ceilinged shopping mall; the extravagant, silver service dinner party set up or the grey coloured, unassuming, plain looking tavern. The motif of snowfall, and the consciousness of how the cast travel across the stage further draw on the evening’s undertone of melancholy.
Emmanuel Villaume conducts a beautiful score, the musical accompaniment the oxygen in which the cast breathe, the cast’s every moment dictated by Villaume’s orchestration. There is an outpouring of emotion towards the show’s conclusion, a fellow audience member beside me moved to tears, myself very close to also shedding a tear. La Bohème has that effortless ability to have the auditorium laughing one minute, and moved to tears the next and this is a commendable feat! 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
La Bohème is currently showing until Wednesday 27th May 2020 at the Royal Opera House. To find out more about the production, visit here…