It's the opera for lovers – and the opera for opera lovers...
Giacomo Puccini's "La Bohème" is nothing less than the very embodiment of emotionally, dramatically, musically charged opera. Yet every emotion is one that is intensely familiar to each and every listener. We can all relate to the sudden awakening of love as Mimì and Rodolfo "search" for the missing key; and we all know in our hearts how death will forever change the lives of these irresponsible, light-headed bohemians.
Love and death – these are the quintessential ingredients of "La Bohème" and Philippe Sireuil's production at the Zurich Opera zeroes in on them. Far from emphasizing their tragic potential, however, he brings out the many details that underscore the lightness and even humor of the bohemians Rodolfo, Marcello, Colline and Schaunard. Their friendship and their relations with the brassy Musette and the consumptive Mimì are illuminated by so many tiny details that we have the feeling we are experiencing this work for the first time.
This same feeling of never-before-heard newness is compounded by Franz Welser-Möst's musical direction. He sketches neat, succinct scenes of nearly cinematic graphicness, uncovering the protagonists' individuality and truthfulness with incisive details and finely honed contours. By the end of the opera, the characters we are all familiar with reveal the entire weight of the "unbearable lightness of being" that stamped their lives before Mimì's death.
With Cristina Gallardo-Domâs as Mimì and Marcello Giordani as Rodolfo, the production scales even greater heights of intensity. The Chilean soprano, who regularly performs at such houses as the Met, La Scala and Covent Garden, is considered by many as the best Mimì of our day. She dominates the stage, from the multicolored nuances of a pianissimo whisper to the most heart-stopping lyrical outbursts. She is perfectly matched by the sonorous brilliance of Giordani and, above all, by the temperamental sexiness of Elena Mosuc's Musetta.