Arturo Chacón-Cruz (Rodolfo) and Sabina Cvilak (Mimi), La Bohème, Washington National Opera, photo by Karin Cooper
Tuesday evening’s interesting production directed by Mariusz Treliński of Puccini’s well-known La Bohème abandoned the spirit of Bohemianism. Set in a modern urban loft large enough to bowl, each character appeared conventionally fashionable and seemingly loaded with money given both the huge video projector and big-screen TV on the set. Also absent was the artistic oppression symbolized by the army breaking up the party at Café Momus at the end of Act II. Although the snare drums were heard, the libretto was altered to represent a fireworks show as the reason for the scene’s break-up, while it seemed like no shock that the huge bill was slyly dumped on Alcindoro (Michael Nansel) by Musetta (Alyson Cambridge) at the end of the party. The amount of pleasure in this production was not balanced by an equal extreme of pain, starvation, and shivering coldness; hence, the production did not match the musical score, which musically slams back and forth between desperation and bliss.
Daniel Ginsberg, Second Cast Gives First-Rate Account Of 'La Bohème' (Washington Post, September 21)
David Patrick Stearns, 'La Bohème' goes Sick and the City (Philadelphia Inquirer, September 20)
Two performances of La Bohème remain at the Kennedy Center Opera House: this evening (September 29, 7 pm) and tomorrow afternoon (September 30, 2 pm). Both are sold out.