Opera Scotland

Bohème 2016Magnetic Opera

Read more about the opera Bohème

What would Magnetic Opera offer us this year, as a follow-up to last year's distinguished Maria Stuarda? It was Puccini's classic, La bohème, in modern dress and English translation.

This was a fine ensemble performance from these young musicians. Francesca Matta as Mimì in particular sang sweetly and acted well. She was svelte enough that one could almost imagine her with consumption. Ian McBain's lyric tenor also continues to develop nicely. In the final act especially, the bohemians, larking around, looked more than usually the part with respect to age.

The Lauriston Hall was well filled at the first performance on Wednesday 24 August  Magnetic Opera brought a cast of seven and a band of nine, and Puccini's masterpiece came up freshly under the conducting of Calum Fraser and the direction of Thomas Henderson. There were few props but these were well chosen. The company was clearly well rehearsed, but without any of the 'slickness' that can spoil a production.

The translation was essentially the original English one from 1897 - 'Your tiny hand is frozen', 'Lovely maid in the moonlight', etc.,  with further references to 'maiden' in the love duet. But attempts were made to update it. On Musetta's arrival at the Café Momus, Marcello comments, "what the fuck is she doing here?" and in their spat outside in the third act, he cries to her 'Piss off! Bitch!'. This may have jarred with our reviewer, but the audience seemed accepting of the contemporary touch.

Nevertheless this was a thoroughly enjoyable and musical performance. Anyone seeing the opera for the first time would not have been aware of the omissions necessary to edit it down either in scale or duration (2 hours).

Highly recommended.

Performance Cast

Rodolfo a poet

Ian McBain

Marcello a painter

James Schouten

Colline a philosopher

Sam Carl

Schaunard a musician

Jerome Knox

Benoit the students' landlord

Christopher Head

Mimì a seamstress

Francesca Matta

Musetta a grisette

Catriona Hewitson

Alcindoro a wealthy follower of Musetta

Christopher Head

Performance DatesBohème 2016

Map List

Lauriston Halls | Edinburgh

24 Aug, 18.00 26 Aug, 18.00 27 Aug, 18.00

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