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La Boheme @Liceu, March 16, with PHOTOS

This was my first La Boheme live with Angela singing the title role. And I liked very much what I saw and heard. Giancarlo del Monaco's production is traditional. Maybe too traditional, being very similar to Zefirelli's style. 

What I liked most...
act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3, act 3. Ok, you got it :) The sets (in the street, with some homeless people sleeping in the corners, the facade of the house on the right), the lighting (light coming for lamplights, early in the morning), and especially the voices. Each note built the intensity, created the tragic atmosphere, which made the perfect ground for the highlight, Mimi's Donde lieta usci.  Soft, lamenting, emotional, velvet tone in Angela's voice growing from the first line to the saddest goodbye possible: Bada, sotto il guanciale c'è la cuffietta rosa. Se vuoi serbarla a ricordo d'amor! Addio, senza rancor. (Pay attention, on the pillow there is a pink bonnet. If you want, keep a memory of love! Goodbye, without resentment). Yes, crying is allowed.
Lots of drama in this act. In the end, according to the length of the applauses, I bet everybody would have loved to listen again to the entire act. It was a-ma-zing!

Puccini though of sensitive hearts when he wrote the opera. So the drama alternates with some moments of happiness, which justify the paper fight in the beginning of the fourth act. Good idea, but way too many papers. It was a mess on stage. The bass drum note coincides with Musetta and Mimi's entrance. That sound suddenly terminates the fun and makes place for drama. Mimi is back but it's too late. Colline's aria, Vecchia zimarra, was so full of sorrow. Then the duet, the theme song of the first act, then... she dies. Whyyy? Not "why does she die", but "why did it end sooooo soon". 
It was a very intense ending. The tenor has the final line. His "Mimi, Mimi" should break the heart. For me it did about 80%. There's place for more. 

I disliked the fact that the conductor was booed at the curtain call. Maybe the audience didn't noticed his effort to keep everything together. And maybe the audience didn't know that this was his 16th La Boheme in a row with the fourth cast. I felt like he adapted very well. I said it many times, don't like it, don't applaud. Boo and opera don't get along, as everything here is extremely subjective.

Happy to be there. Happy that the audience at Grand Teatre de Liceu was so generous with the applauses after each aria and especially in the end, at the curtain call. Well deserved standing ovations for the entire cast. In my seat, dashing away the tears, up on my little fluffy cloud, away from the everyday life and deep into the magic of music, I couldn't think of anything else but how lucky I was to be there. 

Dear Angela, thank you so much for another beautiful evening!

Act 1, with Saimir Pirgu

Act II

Curtain call after act II


Act IV

Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Angel Odena, Saimir Pirgu, Carlo Colombara
Angela Gheorghiu, Saimir Pirgu, Gabriel Bermúdez

Final curtain call


  1. I wish that was the HD transmission and not the cast led by the completely wrong and overparted Cedolins...

  2. Thank you, Irina, for your review and beautiful photos. Your words make me even more anxious to see Angela and Roberto in "La Boheme" in June!

  3. Hello Irina,
    what joy to see your photos!. I just return home after four unforgettable days in Barcelona (Bohème on Friday and Monday and Saturday and Sunday in the city that I had not visited, beautiful city really!) It seems as if I had dreamed everything, but not, everything was real and incredible.
    I like your chronicle. I absolutely agree with you. The 3 act was fantastic. The boos to the conductor have their why. Liceu fans had complained of slow and anti-Puccini direction several days ago.
    Now that I know that you were there, I would have liked to find you in person and to thank your fantastic blog, with the translated interviews and photos and information on AGheorghiu.
    Yesterday was not the same emotion. On Friday it was magic when she finally knocked on the door and she said “Scusi”. She was there, singing on stage and was not a dream. I can’t still believe it.
    I did not have courage to approach for an autograph on Friday. Yesterday, under the pressure of being the last day that she would sing at the Liceu, I looked for the courage and I asked her to sign a photo which I like much, because "Tosca ha l'occhio nero" and I like Tosca and the aria. I thought she would sign the back of the photo because there was lots of white space, but she explained me why she was not signing the back and I was so surprised that she was speaking directly with me that I forgot to express all the gratitude that I have inside. I had imagined I would say the words which were basically "Thanks for all your performances" because my spoken English is enough poor, but I never thought she'd say me anything.
    She was very kind with the people for the photos with her, and patiently she signed autographs.
    I am happy, so happy because I have "my treasure" photo signed by the greatest soprano AGheorghiu.
    Attention the other countries in which she will sings! because she is in top form vocally and expressive, is a fantastic Mimi!
    Qué grande es la Gheorghiu!, qué grande es la ópera!.
    Saludos Irina

  4. Hello again Irina,
    After seeing the photos in facebook about “the Mimi who did not want to die in the rehearsal” (very funny, I guess they are photos taken by your eyes...), I remembered something that also amused me on friday in the second act, when Rodolfo buys to Mimi the “cuffetta rosa”. She put the hat in the tenor’s head! but on monday she could not because Pirgu was more alert and not lets her.
    It's wonderful how AGheorghiu has the control of the role, and can even do jokes, she is truly an accomplice of those who are seeing the opera.
    She is a bit naughty, but this is fantastic and she makes everything more special.
    ... refusing still to return to my normal life ...
    Saludos Irina

  5. Dear Anonymous,
    those are not my photos. As mentioned there, they were taken during the rehearsals. But yes, they're funny.

  6. Oh, sorry, I was wrong really. You have taken photos as beautiful as the third photo of this post that I thought ... but I was wrong, I’m sorry.

  7. Lovely review Irina! thank you so much. I did not realise it was your first Boheme with her! One day we must go to the Met for her Boheme. It is completely over the top and so wonderful. I hate the boo's too. I would ban boo's forever. Don't clap if you don't like it right? Thanks again, Anne