Sunday, January 31, 2010

Puccini's La Bohème

As I mentioned tangentially yesterday, Dr Desert Flower and I saw Puccini's La Bohème Saturday night. No incest, murder, poisoning, suicides, magic, myth, ghosts, spirits, undead, revolution, or 'forbidden love'. A bunch of artists living in Paris's Latin Quarter, one dieing of consumption - what eventually got morphed into Rent once HIV came to the forefront about a century later. It was well sung, finely acted, richly costumed, beautifully presented, effectively delivered. The sets were elaborate and effective. The pit orchestra only mildly over-powering when some of the duets were sung.

Neither DDF or myself had ever seen this one before. As we exited the theater, I asked her how she liked it.. and she said it was good, but not her favorite. Tosca, Don Giovanni, Magic Flute she said were more her style. Yes, those Were really wonderfully performed as well... but I really liked the simple love story, straight forward presentation of La Bohème. There is a "impersonal-ness" to Puccini though. Puccini was sort of a factory producer, with a lyricist, manager, producer, entourage cranking out one Italian opera after another for many years. Mozart on the other hand, was more of a small cottage industry, often cranking out masterpieces finished Just the night before the first performance and playing the piano parts himself (not yet written down), musical genius that he was. Each has his own flavor.

The gentle, warm, embracing approach of La Bohème yesterday was quite enjoyable, and this time the AZ Opera company didn't monkey around with Puccini, by bizarrely mixing different centuries wardrobes all in the same piece as the disastrous Tosca went last year, with SS uniforms, Lugers, Epees, 1950's bobby-socks, flash lights... ??? Pick a genre, and stay with it Mr. Altman. You successfully did this weekend, Thank you! Encore! Lather, rinse, repeat =)

We're looking forward to Rossini's The Barber of Seville in April! Deve vedere...

1 comment:

  1. sorry for the triple post... to those who get auto-updates. I was having some computer problems this evening.


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