|Musetta||Leticia de Altamirano|
|Un ufficiale||Sergio Ovando|
|Un sergente||Roberto Aznar|
|Regia||Luis Miguel Lombana|
|Scena e Costumi||Nicola Benois|
Coro e Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes
Coro dei bambini della Schola Cantorum
When you have a well-known and beloved opera like La Bohéme in an opera stage that has seen this piece hundreds of times, comparisons will be done and stakes are usually very high when speaking of the quality of the performance.
Being the last title to be performed in the 2013 season of the Ópera de Bellas Artes, this La Bohéme was given two casts of almost all-Mexican singers (with just one Italian in the first cast and a Serbian conductor). The production is completely traditional, beautiful to look at and there was a linear stage direction which followed the libretto and gave the performance certain fluidity.
Srba Dinic conducted the Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes with vibran tempi but the orchestra had some pitch problems, specially the strings in the first act and the wind instruments throughout the whole opera. He tried to control the volume of the orchestra but there were times where it played too loud and covered some of the singers. Dinic did bring out some of the score's delicate moments and conducted a brilliant third act. The Coro del Teatro de Bellas Artes acted and sang well.
Vocally speaking, it was a strong performance with certain individual mishaps. Soprano Maria Alejandres as Mimi has a powerful voice and she tried to capture the character's innocence and fragility but neither of these two qualities were totally fulfilled in her performance. Her voice was at its best when singing forte and fortissimo, sometimes spreading her instrument to an extent in which the squillo was not very pleasant. Her first and second act were well sung, doing nice phrasing and showing a bit of Mimi's coquettish side in a very tender "Si, mi chiamano Mimi". But by the third act, she began to use too much chest voice for the low notes and compromised the beauty of tone in favor of loud, dramatic attacks. In the fourth act, her Mimi sounded way to healthy to be dying so it took away the feeling of a life that is slowly fading away. Her Rodolfo, Héctor Sandoval, suffered the same syndrome of singing loud and louder but, in his case, the middle part of his voice became nasal and didn't proyect as well as his high notes. His upper register soars effortlessly; he managed to sing a blazing high C at the end of "Che gelida manina" but the phrasing in the aria was not as elegant as it should be. If his Mimi was channeling her inner-Tosca while singing, he channelled his inner-Canio and did a very exaggerated ending screaming "Mimi" and then crying in a way that sounded more like the laughter of sorrow that Canio usually does after singing "Vesti la giubba". Both singers fell into certain mannerisms that compromised the vocal beauty of their singing. There are some cases where less is more but we are sure that Alejandres and Sandoval will polish those details in future performances.
The balance in acting and singing in the premiere came from Giudo Loconsolo's Marcello, Leticia de Altamirano's charming Musetta, Rosendo Flores tender Colline and Óscar Velázquez elegant Shaunard. These four singers acted and sang with panache, nuances and felt really fresh and at ease with their characters. Loconsolo was a handsome, virile Marcello, singing with a dark, robust timber and secure high notes. He had great chemistry with the lovely Musetta of soprano Leticia de Altamirano, who sang her "Quando me n'vò" with shining tone, blazing high notes and elegant phrasing. She acted the role with perkiness, showing that Musetta can be naughty and spoiled but also tender and caring. During the famous third act quartet "Dunque è proprio finita", the interaction between Marcello and Musetta was far more intense and interesting than that of Rodolfo and Mimi. Óscar Velázquez sang with clear diction and commanding voice the sympathetic role of Schaunard while the experienced bass Rosendo Flores gave his usual wonderful performance as Colline. He sang a touching "Vecchia zimarra" and received a well-deserved applause for it. Kudos to Leszek Zawadka for playing both Alcindoro and Benoit with a nice touch of humor without falling into a caricature of the character. It was a marvelous evening, all in all, of one of Puccini's most beloved masterpieces.
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