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Last night's La Boheme in Hamburg

This Boheme (Angela Gheorghiu / Giuseppe Filianoti / Katerina Tretyakova / George Petean / Adrian Sampetrean / Moritz Gogg) was totally different from what I have seen before. It was a modern, German production visually appealing and mind cathcing. Just because a director thought of bringing the story to present days, la bianca cameretta is a studio in a block of flats where each opening door reveals the staircase. In the first act you could see nine studios displayed in a square. The one in the center belongs to the boys, the one above to Mimi and the in cent right to the landlord. A landlord who peeks into the boys studio through a small hole in thr wall. The other studios are inhabited by various people, one old lady preparing a Christmas basket, one man drinking a beer. It's the first time when I see Christmas trees included in the production. There were several in the small studios. The one in the boy's studio is in fact a drawing on the wall. Funny :)

A very good thing was that the action in the first act takes place at the first floor, so everybody in the venue can see everything perfectly. The same happens in the last act. Getting back to act one, when Mimi and Rodolfo sing their duet, at some point the part of thr stage with the studios goes down till Mimi's room reaches the eye level(remember that it was at the second floor). The little white room is coquettish, with lots of teddy bears spread around. When the aria finishes, they leave the stage while the building behind them totally disappears under the stage. To make place to Momus. I think it's the first time when the directir thinks if showing us what happens around the protagonists. And it wasn't bad at all.

Momus is a bar with waiters dressed in pink. Musetta sings her valse on the bar while undressing. Interesting approach...
In the beginning of act 3 the men are janitors and the ladys are...half-clothed. The heart and arrow neon sign on the wall of the building the ladies come out frim gives a vague idea of what happens inside.

The fourth act brings us back to the building in the first act, only that this time it's deserted. There's nobody living there anymore. There just a mattress left in the studio in the center. The only thing that didn't match the rest of the sets/props was the muff Musetta brings. It's not a 20th century item. Probably you could still find one, but not if you're as poor as they were. But this is just a small detail.

Simone Young led the orchestra very well. From where i set i turnd my had many times to watch her on one of the monitors in the venue. Sorry to the gentleman that thought i was looking at him. Only that his head was in between my eyes and the monitor :) Mrs Young was totally dedicated to what she was doing and her gestures, her face, her singing with those on stage showed that.

My second Boheme this year ended with standing ovations. And some boos (agsin) for the conductor. Not deserved. The producton was way more interesting than the one in Barcelona, but this time the tenor's voice didn't make me feel confortable several times. Lots of struggling for high notes which gave a feeling of insecurity, musically speaking. At this point i could say that i would prefer the steady tenor voice i heard in Barcelona (with less acting) than lots of acting but unsteady voice. My opinion. Of course, having both acting and voice would make Rodolfo great.
So I focused on Mimi's voice. And that made the evening perfect!

To completethe picture, check out a video recording posted on youtube today.
Some more pictures coming up tomorrow.



  1. I thought it looked so ugly Irina. Angela is such a classical beauty, I feel she looks out of place in such stark surroundings. But, each to their own and Germany goes in for this stuff. I would have been hugely distracted by the building site and anxious that someone would fall. The snowman, the christmas tree, the big bauble, euw. I loved her costumes though. I think she should always die with her face in profile, her profile is so instantly recognizable and perfect. You are going to be 'Bohemed' out this year Irina! I'm pea green with envy! Anne

  2. It was't ugly at all. From the venue it looks different. Photos can be misleading sometimes. Compared to other German productions i saw, this was paradise. Usually the first half of the first act seems endless tome. Not this time.
    And don't envy me. You'll get your share soon :)

  3. Is there a DVD planned?!

  4. Ay ba! then, it was like scenes from a block of flats or something similar, right?, the public knows what do the other personages while follows the story of the protagonists. It’s a original idea.
    However, I’m more classic. I like the action in the XIX century, the action without more unadorned.
    I know that I'm not very positive, just what they change is what I don’t like.
    I don’t like a stage show that looks like a dress rehearsal. Really they were on stage in jeans?!
    Filianoti seems Danny Zuko, though for that, he should do weights hehehe. Jokes aside, it makes me sad to read he not sang well. I really like this tenor. I think that he has a very nice voice and convincing, also in other operas makes a good combination with AGheorghiu. When I saw that in Hamburg, Filianoti was Rodolfo, I thought they were very lucky.
    Angela Gheorghiu can wear what she pleases, that everything will look good, as if she sings with a space suit an interstellar Mimi. (I will not give ideas...)
    I think that leaving aside the century and the costumes, there is still the voice, and this continues being opera… or not?
    If the changes in the representations were less radicals...
    Thank you Irina for your review and links.

  5. Thank you, Irina, for your very descriptive review. I'm 100% sure we'll have both acting and voice from Roberto in June :-)

  6. Irina, you are amazing! Thankyou so much. It's the very next best thing to actually being there. Can't wait for 23rd June at Covent Garden. Will you be there?
    Kind regards, Carole.

  7. Yes Carole, I'll be there.