Giacomo Puccini – Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Lorenzo Passerini - Directed by Gale Edwards
Director, Shaun Rennie - Set Design by Brian Thomson
Design by Julie Lynch – Lighting Design by John Rayment.
Theatre - Sydney Opera House until 4th Feb.2022
11th January reviewed by Bill Stephens
production of La Boheme was the first
opera commissioned by Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, when he took over
the reins of Opera Australia. Since its Melbourne premiere in 2011, Gale Edwards concept, set in 1930”s
Berlin during the last months of the Weimar Republic, with its spectacular settings by Brian Thomson,
particularly for the Café Momus scene, Julie Lynch’s lavish costumes and John Rayment’s
evocative lighting, quickly became an audience favourite, placing it among
Opera Australia’s most oft-performed productions.
However with a new production of the opera announced for 2023, this current season will be the last opportunity for opera lovers, and opera novices alike, to relish the pleasures of this beautiful staging, which has been intelligently reproduced for this season by revival director, Shaun Rennie.
in the 2020 iteration of this production, Valeria Sepe and Kang Wang as the
young lovers Mimi and Rodolfo, confirmed the impression created then of being
perfect casting in these roles. Both superb singers and actors, they looked
lovely together and created a tender chemistry, particularly in the first and
final acts, which was thoroughly convincing and very moving.
Haotian Qi, in his impressive role debut as Marcello, stamped himself as a
singer to watch, revealing a cheeky flair for comedy, but also capable of
producing sparks, particularly in the Act
111 quartet, when his passionate
argument with Musetta, contrasts with Rodolfo’s sad dismissal of Mimi.
|Julie Lea Goodwin as Musetta - Andrew Moran as Alcindoro
the role of Musetta in this production is a scene stealer, particularly her Café
Momus entrance in Julie Lynch’s marvellous mirror dress. Favourite Musettas in
previous iterations of this production include Taryn Fiebig and Lorina Gore.
However, Julie Lea Goodwin can now add her name to that list with her
confident, brilliantly accomplished performance, guaranteed to become an
indelible memory for everyone lucky enough to experience it.
Andrew Moran provides two delightful cameos as the landlord, Benoit, and Musetta’s abandoned escort, Alcindoro, and while on indelible
performances, what a pleasure it was to have the opportunity to enjoy three of
the original cast, revisiting the roles they created in the premiere
performances of this production in Shane Lawrencev as flamboyant as ever as
Schaunard, Malcolm Ede as the Customs Sergeant , and Benjamin Rasheed as the
toy seller, Parpignol.
|Shane Lowrencev as Schaunard
the Opera Australia orchestra distinguished itself with its lush reading of the
score, under the sensitive guidance by Maestro, Lorenzo Passerini, insuring
that these farewell performances of this much admired production will remain a
|Benjamin Rasheed as the toy seller, Parpignol
Photos by Prudence Upton
This review also published in Australian Arts Review. www.artsreview.com.au