La bohème in Concert
Copyright Hilary Scott Photography
La bohème in Concert, Tanglewood
This “La Bohème” was powerful, moving and filled with moments of heart, comedy and vocal fireworks that had the crowd on its feet at the end . . . Daniel Rigazzi's . . . direction of the principals . . . was precise, funny and moving. A veteran of the Met, that experience shows. But it must have been an interesting challenge for him to tackle this particular opera in the supposed-limitations of semi-staged production. It was, for me, a theatrical style that could call to mind the work of Peter Brook, where less can be so much more. Add to that no intermission between Acts one and two, and Acts three and four, and you have a propulsive tragedy . . . It was a sleeker “La Bohème,” and in some ways, despite the streets of Paris not being there in all their vividness, so much more emotionally gripping.
The production was shorn of scenic splendor but imbued with a keen grasp of Puccini's slice-of-life realism, depicting four artistic bohemians living on the edge of poverty in 1830s Left Bank Paris. Call it semi-staged, concert-staged or "concertante" . . . this most familiar opera is just as effective, perhaps even more so, when focused on the music and the characters.
Clarence Fanto—The Berkshire Eagle