* Notes *
A charming production of La Bohème opened at San Francisco Lyric Opera at Cowell Theater last night. The orchestra was not quite together, and at times the singers were not with the orchestra either. For the first act I was unable to stop listening to the orchestra, as it was on the same level as the audience and I was only in the second row. By chance I was right by the violas, which brought me back to the days of being in my high school's orchestra. Kim A. Tolman's set was artful and perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the opera. The changes of scene went smoothly and the background projections were not distracting. Most of the costumes were good, though the blue gown Mimi wore in Act IV looked like it was borrowed from Romeo and Juliet. All the singers were fine, especially Shawnette Sulker as Musetta. Sulker was quite the actress as well. Tenor Vincent Chambers (Rodolfo) and baritone Nathaniel Hackmann (Marcello) both showed promise.
* Tattling *
The person next to me in Row E Seat 104 must have been under the impression that this was a sing-along opera, for she sang with nearly every famous aria. She was rather flat, but certainly she knew many of the words. Notably she did not sing Colline's aria in Act IV, nor did she announce the title beforehand, but thankfully she conducted, swaying her right hand back and forth.