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La Boheme - Royal Albert Hall, London

February 28, 2004
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La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini is (once again) a story about love and despair; life and death.

The opera is set in Paris, circa 1840. Central characters are the four struggling artists painter Marcello, poet Rodolfo, Colline the philosopher and the musician Schaunard. Marcello has a jealous relationship with the popular cabaret singer Musetta while Rodolfo falls in love with the already dying Mimi.

Royal Albert Hall offers a big area for the stage and it was used well. The stage had a circular composition where sometimes the action was focused to the middle and other times things were happening in various parts of the stage. Something that would not have been possible at a traditional opera stage, e.g. at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

The biggest downfall of the performance is that it is sung in English. While I don't speak much Italian, an opera is always much more powerful in the original language. Especially such beautiful language as Italian. Further more, when an opera is sung in a foreign language, there are always subtitles that let one follow the dialog if necessary.



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