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Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, October 2012

The production’s overall appearance is one of its plus points. Brian Thomson’s settings are suitably atmospheric. The costumes—designed by Julie Lynch—have been well chosen too, with Blu-ray technology allowing us to see in minute detail just how worn and threadbare Mimi’s coat actually is.

The young cast certainly looks right. Ji-Min Park plays Rodolfo as a sort of naïve, boisterous young puppy and he and his companions are constantly rushing around the set…All four young male characters are well differentiated—Schaunard has been given a decidedly gay characterisation—and have a completely believable rapport among themselves.

Takesha Meshé Kizart makes an exceptionally pretty Mimi…Taryn Fiebig’s Musetta—here portrayed as some sort of resident singer with the Café Momus band—is a well-drawn characterisation.

Clever and effective individual characterisation is also apparent in that busy second Act where the street traders, hawkers, entertainers, shoppers and kids are well marshalled on a very full and busy stage. Its central revolving area is cleverly used at points to give an illusion of even more movement and activity…Matters are accomplished just as well in the café interior scene, with the 1930s setting effectively emphasised. All in all…we have an attractive and interesting staging here.

The supporting cast does…a fair job…José Carbó’s Marcello makes the strongest positive impression. The orchestra, under the direction of the very experienced Taiwanese conductor Shao-Chia Lü…sounds full and authoritative from the very opening.

Cameron Kirkpatrick’s direction for TV is generally fine. The Blu-ray disc offers very finely reproduced sound and a fabulous, detailed and very realistic picture. As an interesting take on an old favourite, I will certainly watch this production again. And, yes, I too cried at the end. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bill White
Fanfare, July 2012

PUCCINI, G.: Boheme (La) (Opera Australia, 2011) OPOZ56019CD
PUCCINI, G.: Boheme (La) (Opera Australia, 2011) (NTSC) OPOZ56017DVD
PUCCINI, G.: Boheme (La) (Opera Australia, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OPOZ56018BD

This Opera Australia production of Giacomo Puccini’s timeless La Bohème is a very good one visually, very entertaining to watch.

The energetic young cast sings very well, looks the right age, and gives an emotionally charged performance here. Young Korean tenor Ji-Min Park takes on the role of Rodolfo with charming freshness and some fine singing. American soprano Takesha Meshé Kizart, grandniece of Tina Turner and Muddy Waters…plays a very fetching and vulnerable Mimi, and is vocally secure singing Puccini’s well-loved music and emotionally compelling in the final act. The other boisterous bohemians, the Marcello of José Carbó, the Colline of David Parkin, and the Schaunard of Shane Lowrencev, all sing well and keep things lively in the first two acts. Fiebig handles her big act II showpiece with sultry vamping and a fine voice.

Recommended, then, in its video guise as a very entertaining and visually attractive production with pretty good singing. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Derek Greten-Harrison
Opera News, June 2012

PUCCINI, G.: Boheme (La) (Opera Australia, 2011) (NTSC) OPOZ56017DVD
PUCCINI, G.: Boheme (La) (Opera Australia, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OPOZ56018BD

Set in early 1930s Berlin, director Gale Edwards’s production of La Bohème from the Sydney Opera House is an interesting and, at times, illuminating rethinking of Puccini’s most popular work. The concept is aided by Brian Thomson’s austere, minimalist sets, which anticipate the end of the Weimar Republic’s decadent café culture and the rise of the Third Reich. The focus here is clearly on the characters (i.e., no grandiose Zeffirelli-esque set pieces, though the transition to Café Momus is impressively accomplished), and the intimacy of Sydney’s small stage is well suited to this subdued treatment.

Opera Australia’s Blu-ray disc showcases the production’s inventive camerawork with a richly detailed image. © 2012 Opera News Read complete review

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