When my auntie came down to London to stay with me, she asked if I wanted to go and see La Bohème at the Royal Opera House. I said yes – after all, it’s one of the best-known operas, and I’ve been curious to see it for a while.
Giacomo Puccini’s opera, with a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, was inspired by Henry Murger’s Scenes de la Vie de Boheme, a collection of stories of Bohemian Paris life. This production is directed by John Copley with designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman.
The opera’s story is right up my street – Rodolfo (Charles Castronovo), a poet, lives in a Paris garret with his friend Marcello (Markus Werba), a painter. He meets seamstress Mimi (Ermonela Jaho) and the two fall in love, but tragically Mimi dies of consumption. The sadness of the main tale is slightly lightened by the story of Marcello and his on-off relationship with courtesan Musetta (Simona Mihai).
Despite having something of a difficult relationship with opera, I thoroughly enjoyed this production. The singing was beautiful, particularly from the leads, and I adored the stunning sets, evoking in turns a garret, a warm tavern, and beautiful snowy Paris. This genuinely moving production is something I’d recommend even if you think you don’t like opera.