* Notes *
This second cast of San Francisco Opera's current production of La Bohème is impressive. For one thing, the youthfulness of the singers certainly was fitting for the roles, no one looked out of place in that regard. Brian Leerhuber was the only one of the Bohemians in both casts, and he seemed comfortable with this new set of singers Leerhuber has good comic timing, and he was particularly good in the Act IV quartet. Kenneth Kellogg (Colline) was just a bit more stiff, but he sang well, especially in "Vecchia zimarra." Tamara Wapinsky was rather loud as Musetta, something about her vibrato pains me. Her acting was strong, and her voice is better than Norah Amsellem's, with whom she shared this role. As Marcello, Brian Mulligan played off of Tamara nicely. He has a fine voice, very pleasant. Marius Brenciu was completely convincing as Rodolfo. His bright voice had volume without sounding strained. Maija Kovalevska also turned out a lovely performance, her Mimì was very flirtatious and a touch too robust in the beginning. Kovalevska sounded less pretty and less delicate than either Angela Gheorghiu or Melody Moore, but her voice had better volume and resonance than Gheorghiu, and her acting was superior to Moore's. Conductor Giuseppe Finzi's tempi were fairly speedy, and there were a few moments in the first half when the singers and orchestra were not together.
* Tattling *
The house looked completely full, even standing room looked crowded. People talked quite a bit. A woman in Box U spoke loudly during Musetta's Act II waltz, "Quando me n'vò," possibly alerting her companion to the importance the aria. Either that or she was noting that it was an important aria for Ms. Wapinsky.
The usual watch alarms were heard, in addition to some humming.