Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Opera, La boheme, LA BOHÈME, John Caird, David Farley, Evan Rogister
The show also features a large ensemble and children's chorus that performs beautifully. They are left out of the show's curtain call, but should know that much of the applause booming from inside the auditorium is for them as well.
David Farley's set and costume design for the production are divine. The set design is wonderfully inspired and utilized well. It is compromised of oil paintings, possibly done by Marcello. For the garret, the audience sees the backs of these paintings, creating a sparse set. Where windows would be are lovely, and fully detailed scenes of Paris that appear to be crafted in oils. When the action takes place in the streets of Paris, this technique is utilized to create impressively detailed panoramic views of Paris streets. There are oil paintings of all different sizes stacked upon each other to create an illusion of the Latin Quarter (Act II) and tavern near the city gates (Act III).
The costumes David Farley has designed are period specific. Each piece is beautiful and lavishly detailed. No matter the class of the character, it is devastatingly and painstakingly conveyed to the audience through each miniscule and minute detail. No seam is overlooked, and every element of the costume design serves an obvious and well-appreciated purpose.
Michael James Clark has does a gorgeous job lighting the fantastic sets and the show, easily conveying emotion and realism in delicate washes of greens, blues, and ambers. Once the fire is burning in the stove in the garret, there is devotedly realistic light and smoke emitted from the set piece. Another shining example of the excellent design is when the candles have been blown out and Mimì and Roldfo are relying on the moonlight to light the garret. Like the costuming, no detail is left unused or unexplored. Therefore, no lighting cue seems inappropriate or disjointed.
Houston Grand Opera's splendid and opulent production of LA BOHÈME is an immaculate example of how talented this company is. Every element of the opera works in this production. Each note is played perfectly by the orchestra, sung beautifully by the cast, and gently lands in the hearts of the audience. It is easy to see why this opera is quite possibly the world's favorite opera. Also, it is nice to see the story that inspired RENT, which is a unique bonus in and of itself. Whether you've never seen it before or you've seen it innumerable times, this delicately nuanced and lovely production of LA BOHÈME is a must see.
Houston Grand Opera's production of LA BOHÈME runs at The Wortham Center through November 10, 2012. For more information and tickets, please visit http://www.houstongrandopera.org/ or call (713) 228 – 6737.
Photos are by Felix Sanchez, courtesy of Houston Grand Opera.
Vuyani Mlinde (Colline), Joshua Hopkins (Marcello), Dimitri Pittas (Rodolfo), and Michael Sumuel (Schaunard) have a drink with Hector Vásquez (Benoit, the landlord) in Act I.
Festive crowd celebrates Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter in Act II.
Dimitri Pittas (Rodolfo) comforts Katie Van Kooten (Mimì) in Act IV.
Dimitri Pittas (Rodolfo) comforts Katie Van Kooten (Mimì) while Joshua Hopkins (Marcello) embraces Heidi Stober (Musetta) and Michael Sumuel (Schaunard) looks on in Act IV.