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“This Bohème is a glorious vindication of traditional staging at its imaginative, re-creative best. Giancarlo Del Monaco here turns his attention to the much more popular work and comes up with a humdinger of a production, beautifully set by Michael Scott in period, fast-moving and full of pertinent detail. The director has obviously had the support of his charges: seldom is a cast and chorus so responsive. In the pit López- Cobos's experienced hand is at all times in evidence, as he draws eloquent and lively playing from the Madrid Symphony, which doubles as the opera-house band. Centre-stage is Inva Mula's appealing, vulnerable and intensely sung Mimì (justly given a tremendous ovation at the close). She sings with finely shaped and expressive phrasing, nowhere more so than in her Act 3 Farewell, and she is always believable as a consumptive. At first glance, Aquiles Machado hardly fits one's idea of a romantic poet but he lives Rodolfo with so much feeling and identification with the role that doubts are banished, and there is much sensitivity and passion in his singing. A notable 'find' is the Marcello of Fabio Maria Capitanucci, a bold singer and natural actor. The other Bohemians are youthfully engaging. Laura Giordano is not quite at her best in Musetta's Waltz Song but elsewhere is very much inside her role: her exit on a bicycle in Act 3 is a nice touch. Robin Lough is the perceptive video director.”
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