Live screening of performance at the Royal Opera House on 29 January 2020
most of the cast and a glimpse of the entire opera on this YouTube video provided by the Royal Opera House
Why The Royal Opera House love performing Puccini’s La Bohème
except for Musetta who was changed on the day and is in this video also from the Royal Opera House La bohème – ‘Quando m’en vo’ (Puccini; Simona Mihai; The Royal Opera)
The voices superb without exception; the production intently focused on the main characters but colourful and overflowing in the crowd scenes.
This would appear to be a story of the difficulties two couples encounter in their relationship. One is blighted by disease, the other by infidelity. The opera is a platform giving the opportunity to express beautifully the immense sadness of these situations, and La Bohème does this very well. Interesting to me was that both couples were unhappy with what they did, in some measure. In the very first scene Rodolfo burned his work. Mimi though loving the flowers she embroidered expressed the regret that hers had no scent. Instead of treasuring what they were able to do. Knowing that by doing their best they were doing God’s work. Perhaps all of them valued their work according to the remuneration it provided, Rodolfo regretted not being able to provide medicine for Mimi, but perhaps if he had just simply valued it as God’s will, Mimi may not have needed medicine, the weather could have warmed up, for instance. Although I am not familiar with Puccini operas it seems to me this is just a snippet of a longer story. Perhaps that is the case for a lot of composers who without themselves realising it were continuing their stories from one to the next. I can see this in the Mozart operas. This seems to have similar hallmarks. The unfinished script. The extraordinarily beautiful music in really quite a sad context. Apparently senseless. Does this reflect the continuity of our loves and lives? Love defeats time, as Petrarch would have it. Is this what God was trying to tell us in getting composers to write operas?