Opera Scotland

Bohème 2017Opera Bohemia

Read more about the opera Bohème

Fresh and convincing revival of old favourite

La bohème has been a mainstay of the Opera Bohemia repertoire ever since the company was established in 2010, and they have now performed it with several casts. The second of this group of three evenings, at the Reid Hall in Forfar, achieved a remarkably consistent level of achievement from the outset. There were no weak links in the cast, and there was a thoroughly satisfying rendition of the score from Andrew Brown (piano) and Feargus Hetherington (violin).

John Wilkie's modern dress production was kept simple. With no chorus available, there were a few cuts in the second and third acts, but this simply concentrated attention on the central drama. The horseplay for the four students at the start of the final act was far more natural and effective than most casts of this opera manage. All the soloists created fleshed out, believable characters, while producing singing of a uniformly high standard.

Luke Sinclair and Natasha Day were well matched, both looking tall and slender, and they encountered no technical issues with their singing. The famous sequence of arias and duet ending the first act was beautifully paced, while the third act section, including ''Mimì è una civetta'' through ''Donde lieta uscì'' also built up a head of emotional steam. Surtitles were available but these singers, like all the others, projected excellent Italian.

Douglas Nairne and Hazel McBain also portrayed fully three-dimensional personalities. This resulted in the third act providing an excellent climax to the work's emotional see-saw.  With fine support from the other three singers, this was a remarkably enjoyable staging of the perennial classic. Long may Opera Bohemia tour!


Since March we have reported on five different stagings of this masterpiece that have appeared in different parts of Scotland - productions by Ellen Kent, Scottish Opera, OperaUpClose, Teatro Regio Torino and Opera Bohemia. They catered to different audiences and presented concepts that varied from spectacularly large-scale to intimate piano-accompanied; modern dress to traditional; English or Italian. They all proved to be thoroughly enjoyable within their own terms - and there was a sixth one, an evening performance by Heritage Opera in Ayr, which sadly we didn't get to.

It really is an amazing opera.

Performance Cast

Rodolfo a poet

Luke Sinclair

Marcello a painter

Douglas Nairne

Colline a philosopher

Nicholas Cowie

Schaunard a musician

Phil Gault

Benoit the students' landlord

Jonathan Sedgwick

Mimì a seamstress

Natasha Day

Musetta a grisette

Hazel McBain

Alcindoro a wealthy follower of Musetta

Jonathan Sedgwick

Custom-house Sergeant

Jonathan Sedgwick

Performance DatesBohème 2017

Map List

Town Hall, Falkirk | Falkirk

15 Sep, 19.30

Reid Hall | Forfar

16 Sep, 19.30

Community Hall, Boat of Garten | Boat of Garten

10 Dec, 19.30

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