It was a late night, browsing the internet when I should have been setting the alarm, that I saw that La Boheme was on at the Royal Albert Hall. Robin said we should go and see it- by the time my head hit the pillow, I had two tickets to the Opera! I had never been to an opera before, this date was circled in red in my diary as I counted down the days.
We were the first ones in our little box- like many of the clientele (it was an afternoon matinee after all) I had a packet of sweets in my bag and an extra scarf in case I got cold. Time to get comfy for the next 2 hours!
This version of La Boheme was sung in Italian, but there were small screens around the Hall with English subtitles so you could follow the story. It’s also now set in 1940’s Paris, just after the Second World War. The 40s is one of my favourite time periods, and the costumes for this production were breath taking. The storyline revolves around Rodolfo, a poet, and his love interest Mimi, a seamstress, that lives downstairs from him and his fellow bohemian pals, Marcello and Schaunard. She comes into their home one night, asking for a light for her candle- Rudolfo lights her candle and not just figuratively- they fall in love. However, there’s a setback- Mimi is suffering from tuberculosis.
My favourite scene was when Momus, the artist’s hangout, was brought to life on stage. Roller skating waiters, damsels dancing with sailors and soldiers, a Strong Man and a Marching Band all helped bring this act to life. I didn’t know where to look, I wanted to watch the main characters but couldn’t tear my eyes away from the performers. I watched an American soldier and his girlfriend dance around the rail road tracks when I should have been watching Rudolfo and Mimi. When one of the characters, Musetta, gets up onto a table to sing and tease the crowd, she had all the eyes of the audience on her too. The whole set design was impressive- I loved the snow that fell on Mimi and Marcello at the rail station in Act 3.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but I really do recommend seeing it! The stage is in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall so it doesn’t matter where you sit- you all get a good vantage point. Tickets are still on sale here and it ends it’s run on the 9th March.