In this week’s “Critic’s Notebook” I highlighted a performance of La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera. Anyone who goes to the Met on any semi-regular basis will be familiar with the production, so I won’t spend too much space on it here. Suffice it to say, the Met’s Bohème is the Zeffirelliest of the Zeffirelli.
I must have seen this production at least a dozen times over the last three to four years, and I cannot recall a performance of it that I enjoyed more than this one. Kristine Opolais and Piotr Beczala exceeded expectations on Tuesday night, singing Puccini’s treasured music with beauty and grace. They were a superb dramatic pair, too, making their relationship as thrilling for the audience as for the characters themselves.
Particularly striking was Tuesday’s Musetta, Brigitta Kele, who made her company debut in this role last season. I suppose I’ve heard fuller voices in this role, but she sang the famous waltz with considerable flair, and her portrayal was completely enchanting, as she effortlessly captured Musetta’s coquettish charm.
Saturday night is the last chance to see the opera with this cast—don’t miss it.