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Friday, January 16, 2015

Opera Diaries: the Four Hour Bohème

So 1/15/15 marked what might have been a first: a La Bohème that lasted nearly four hours. Too tired to write much about the details, but after the first act the curtain fell and we heard a loud crash. Apparently the scenery had fallen apart. An announcement was made that there'd be a 20-minute intermission. That really was about 40 minutes, and every intermission lasted about 40 minutes, so by the time the opera was over it was like 11:30. Seriously.

Thankfully the performance was worth staying for -- and I met the cast afterwards!!!



The gorgeous Mimì, Kristine Opolais. She's one of those women that immediately make you feel mousy and plain by comparison. 



Marina Rebeka, who was such a wonderful Violetta, tonight made for an equally wonderful Musetta. The voice is really very special -- airy, like a bell, you can just listen to her all day. 


Finally, the tenor Jean-François Borras, who I saw last winter as a last-minute sub in Werther. He was amazing. One of the most pure, beautiful lyric tenors I'd ever heard. I thought, "I'll probably never hear him again." Well, his Rodolfo tonight was very different, but just as great. Now if you want Michael Fabiano-like squillo then you're better off uh ... listening to Michael Fabiano. But Borras has a very light, youthful, sweet sound. I was talking with someone at intermission that I really wanted to hear him sing with Marina Rebeka -- they both have this lightness to their voices that I think would blend wonderfully. And the good news: he'll be back again next season! Woo-hoo! But go listen to him next Monday or next Saturday afternoon (broadcast).

And last night I heard Sonya Yoncheva in what might have been the sexiest, most complete Violetta I've ever seen. I already knew she'd be great because I saw her earlier this season as Mimì and there's a Youtube compilation of a performance she did with Jean-François Borras two years ago. But she exceeded all expectations. Really just a special, special voice.

3 comments:

  1. I'm so excited to the see the Traviata! So far I've only found the sopranos who've sung in this production only intermittently satisfying, although I enjoyed Rebeka and though Marina Poplavskaya was weirdly intriguing. How was Opolais as Mimi? She sings that role a lot but it's not something I could really picture her doing.

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    1. Opolais is a great actress and in the right role can be a wonderful singer but she's not a natural Mimì.

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  2. I've never actually seen her live. She's wonderful in The Gambler from the Berlin State opera, and of course as Rusalka, but more from a dramatic point of view than a vocal one. I've only seen clips of her butterfly and youtube and its seems like she'd be ideal for the role, vocally also.

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