My Regards to Puccini"
ANGELES, CA - The magic of Broadway and the finesse of Puccini come
together in this stunning production of Baz Luhrmann's La
Boheme. Having premiered on Broadway in 1990, this
dazzling production makes its Los Angeles debut at the Ahmanson
Puccini's famous La Boheme is a favorite among opera
audiences, but in Baz Luhrmann's masterful hands, the story is
beautifully re-envisioned to reach out to younger audiences and to
those who rarely, if ever, see operas.
is known to popular audiences for directing dazzling films such as Romeo
+ Juliet and Moulin Rouge. He brings a kind magic to the stage that is usually
reserved for the big screen. The singers are enveloped by
stunning sets which come to life under the fine lighting direction of
Nigel Levings. The true essence of Paris is felt: the
sparkling night-life juxtaposed with the dark, cold
streets of the city--the same two worlds of Mimi's life.
story is a familiar one to fans of the opera. Rodolfo, an
impoverished young poet and his best friend Marcello, a painter, live
in a cold, damp flat on top of a Paris building.
the way lives the beautiful, yet frail Mimi who falls in love with
Rodolfo after asking him to light her candle on this snowy
Christmas Eve. Rodolfo's friends, played by Daniel Webb,
Daniel Okultich and Tim Jerome beg him to go out to the Cafe Momus,
a popular night spot on The Left Bank. The ensemble
sequence during the first part of Act I is exquisite.
Baz's vision of casting young players close to the ages of their
characters in Scenes de la Vie de Boheme, the singers are
in their mid-20's but are vocally exceptional. Because of
the vocal demands of the score, the lead players can only perform
their role safely three times a week. Playing the part of
Rodolfo on this
particular evening, David Miller captivated the audience
with his spectacular tenor voice. Together
with his co-star Kelly Kaduce, playing Mimi, they turned up the
heat with their Act I duet.
the crew transform the set into the streets of Paris for Act II
was quite a sight. All the while the characters were
wandering about the stage waiting for their big crowd scene.
Then the lights came up, the music soared and suddenly Paris was alive with a fantastic energy. Though the opera has very few
moments for the full cast, their presence made the production
shine. Notable performances were that of Musetta (Chloe
Wright), singing the famous aria of Act II, and the charming
chorus of children interspersed among the action.
drama is heightened in Act III, when the estranged Mimi and
Rodolfo discover that pain and loss are destined to be a part of
their love. With Mimi's health failing, they struggle to
hang on to the short time they have together. Having
rekindled his relationship with the fiery Musetta, Marcello
tries to help his friends while facing the jealousy of his own
relationship. Hearing these four glorious voices singing
Puccini's passionate quartet was certainly a highlight of the
off to musical director Constantine Kitsopoulos and his
associate conductors. The phrasing and dynamics were
tasteful and true the vision of the composer, and the blend with
the singers was perfect. If you closed your eyes it
like the recording of any leading opera
company. With the sets and costumes suggesting a more
modern time (1950's), and the up-to-date English subtitles,
everyone will enjoy this splendid production. The Center
Theatre Group, the Ahmanson Theatre and Baz Luhrmann have
brought life to the "greatest love story ever sung."