So, why is an opera with a French name (La Bohème) sung in Italian? If Puccini were still around, we could ask him via Twitter. I don’t really care; I just love this opera. Some links below are arias from La Bohème and the full opera on YouTube.
I was looking forward to attending La Bohème at the famously beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City to compare it to the performance I saw at the Met Opera New York earlier this year. I must say that I had low expectations. I had gone to a performance of folkloric dance at the Bellas Artes courtesy of Fulbright-COMEXUS in August as part of our orientation. The building was stunning, especially the colored lead-glass inlaid around the stage. The space is smaller than the Met, so the acoustics are better (to my untrained ear). The folkloric dancers were amazing! I recommend that you see this staple performance by Amalia Hernández whenever you have a chance to visit Mexico City. What took away from the performance was the openly rude behavior of the audience! I get that the majority are tourists, but must so many be looking at WhatsApp and FaceBook that often? Do they know that the light from their phone is distracting? Ugh.
Despite this foreboding of potentially rude behavior, I gave in to my ambivalence and bought a couple of tickets to go with another Fulbrighter…on election day! It was well-worth it. Nobody was rude and the performance was stellar. The tenor was especially sonorous, but a bit too dramatic for the part during Part I when he emphasized his crescendo on the last note. It was just funny to see that bit of theatricality. I would see it again, but there are only 4 performances total which pretty much comprises the first half of the 2016-17 opera season in Mexico! There might be another one during the second half of opera season in 2017, but I won’t be here.
If you ever have a chance to see an opera at the Met in New York, grab it and relish it.
Links to La Bohèhme
- The main arias from La Bohème by the most amazing opera singers. ANDREA BOCELLI, RENATA TEBALDI, CARLO BERGONZI, MONTSERRAT CABALLE
- Pavarotti “Che gelida manina”. Amazing performance by the master tenor (but the audience doesn’t know applause etiquette! I think it must have been performed in China.)
- La Scala, Puccini, Zeffirelli, Karajan. Complete opera. Pinnacle of the best.