Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of LA BOHEME at LA Opera?
LA Opera's production of La Bohème recently opened! Find out what the critics had to say.
Two gorgeous young international stars appear as the tragic lovers: soprano Marina Costa-Jackson in her LAO debut as Mimì and tenor Saimir Pirgu as Rodolfo. The cast also includes baritone Kihun Yoon as Marcello and bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee as Colline; both are alumni of LAO's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Three current members of that program are also featured: soprano Erica Petrocelli as Musetta, baritone Michael J. Hawk as Schaunard and tenor Robert Stahley (in his LAO debut) as Parpignol. Bass-baritone Patrick Blackwell completes the cast as Alcindoro.
Barrie Kosky's production of La Bohème was first seen in January 2019 at Berlin's Komische Oper. The sets designed by Rufus Didwiszus are inspired by antique photography and the brightly colored costumes are designed by Victoria Behr. Marco Philipp will recreate the original lighting designs of Alessandro Carletti. The associate stage director is Katharina Fritsch. Grant Gerson directs the LA Opera Chorus and Fernando Malvar-Ruiz directs the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, one of the nation's leading youth choral institutions.
Read the reviews below!
Maria Nockin, BroadwayWorld: Saimir Pirgu has been a fine tenor for a several years now, but tonight he outdid himself. His mid-sized voice filled the Chandler Pavilion with waves of opulent sound couched in elegant diction. His Rodolfo was young, ardent, and fun-loving but with an innate refinement of both sound and gesture. His "Che gelida manina" ("What an icy little hand") and "O soave fanciulla" ("O Lovely Girl") were enticing and I imagine every woman in the audience wished those arias were being sung to her. Although Pirgu was born in Albania, his musical style and diction are exquisitely Italian.
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times: Chandler acoustics did not allow for intimacy, encouraging instead broad singing out. The action never stops for a second in Kosky's productions, but here the singers kept falling into old habits of making it all about singing out to the audience, not to one another. Costa-Jackson's beautiful diction and rolled Rs would have been great in an oratorio, but this was not the way a punk Mimì, alert to everything around her, would sound.
Truman C. Wang, Classical Voice: The LA Opera assembled a cast of bright young voices for this dark production. Saimir Pirgu and Marina Costa-Jackson show fine chemistry together as Rodolfo and Mimi. His suave tenor virile and exciting with an easy high C in "Che gelida manina", her lyric soprano strong in the middle and gleaming in the top, together they sang a meltingly beautiful duet "O Soave Fanciulla" that ends Act 1 on a high note (literally).