Intense, emotive tragedy in song

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La Boheme - Grand Theatre

THE tragic tale of Mimi and Rodolfo was played out to a packed theatre last night as the Ukrainian National Opera’s production of La Boheme came to The Grand.

The novel Scènes de la vie de Bohème by author Henri Murger was set in Paris in the 1830s and the opera by Giacomo Puccini was based on the book.

The story follows the lives of four artists a writer, singer, painter and philosopher – living in the French city and the relationship between the poet and a seamstress neighbour.

While Puccini took his inspiration from the novel, the original Mimi was somewhat amoral and he told his publisher he wished his subject to be more angel than tart.

And in lead soprano Elena Dee the production certainly got a singer with a heavenly voice as she put in a note perfect performance which was cheered on by the packed gallery after the final act.

Another strong showing came from Russlan Zinevych, the tenor whose Rodolfo was almost perfect, particularly in the third act when explaining to a friend why he wanted to leave Mimi because she flirted with other men, before finally admitting he just could not face the fear of losing her to the consumption.

But it was when the company came together in the final act it became more than the sum of its parts, each handling the death of Mimi in their own quietly powerful way.

It may have been in Italian, but the intensity of the performance, and note perfect playing by the orchestra led by conductor Gheorghe Stanciu, left the audience in no doubt as to the gut wrenching emotions being felt by the characters.