25 February 2018

La Boheme at Normansfield Theatre

Opera at Normansfield Theatre hits so many good buttons that I have to have a very good reason not to go and, luckily, nothing got in the way of this performance of La Boheme.

One of the good buttons if that the concerts are for charity and so I was more than happy to part with £20 for my ticket. Another one is the location and despite the intense cold and the presence of some some snow I enjoyed the forty minute walk there.

My timing was good enough for us to claim four seats in the front row with our coats before disappearing down to the basement to make another donation to charity (and get a beer).

La Boheme was presented by Villa InCanto who I had seen before. They have a simple and effective technique that works very well. The leader, Riccardo Serenelli, introduced the opera and then each of the four scenes before taking his place at the piano leaving the stage to the the flower girl Mimi, her beloved poet Rodolfo, his friend the painter Marcello and his love the fickle Musetta. I had seen La Boheme several times and, even so, I found the introductions useful.

The four singers Zarah Hible, Renato Cordeiro, Jorge Tello Rodrigues and Elise Lefay were all very good. Indeed this was the best ensemble that I could recall hearing, usually there is one singer who standouts for being slightly above or below the standard of the others but not this time.

The setting helped too with the intimate atmosphere of the small theatre and the seating arranged in a horseshoe making it a very personal performance.

Everything about the evening was lovely (except the weather!) and once again I was reminded of just how lucky I am to have a special place like Normansfield Theatre on my doorstep.

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