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Monday 23 July 2012

La Boheme at Glyndebourne


I didn't feel moved to write a full review of this at the time, and nor will I now: McVicar's now decade old updating is fine but not all that interesting, and though I think this is probably Puccini's finest opera it's not one I particularly love.

The entire cast were very decent, but I'll just talk about a few singers here.

Nahuel di Pierro's Colline was absolutely incredible - the richest, chocolatyist lyric bass-baritone sound you can imagine, beautifully produced and apparently effortlessly too. I have no idea why he wasn't in a more major role in this festival but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next festival - maybe a Figaro, or a luxury Harlekin in Ariadne? Does he have the high notes?

Irina Iordachescu's Musetta was very interesting - she has the timbre of a mezzo, but seems to have an easy upper extention, and I liked the husky darkness of her voice in this role - it gives her a mildly grimy, seemy edge that contrasts wonderfully with Scherbachenko's Mimi and was entirely appropriate for this production.

Ekaterina Scherbachenko's Mimi was a mixed - in the first act, she did not sound good at all, with a rather harsh tone, and nary a phrase would pass without serious intonation issues. She improved throughout the evening though, and was already better in Act 2, and then better again in Act 3, and by Act 4 was making some really lovely sounds and her tuning was immaculate. Strange thing. She's not a natural actress and seemed a bit lost amongst all the other larger than life characters, but s

The Glyndebourne orchestra sounded absolutely fantastic under Kirill Karabits to an almost show stealing extent - the orchestral colours glowed and danced under the voices with a sweep and naturalness that carried the action along beautifully. One of the great boons of there being such a long rehearsal period at Glyndebourne, and also the runs being so long is surely the benefit to the orchestra - the ensemble, rapor, accuracy and detail is just so much better than can be expected from the working conditions necessitated by the way the ENO or ROH are organised and run. Magic stuff.

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