Review: Puccini: La Bohème ***

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Grand Opera House, York

The amount of snow falling in the third act of this new production was enough to cause road chaos in the south of England.

It was all part of a detailed and traditional staging from Ellen Kent, who has thankfully returned to the opera scene after a sabbatical. Presently touring the chorus and orchestra of the Ukrainian National Opera of Kharkiv, she has a team of soloists that allows regular cast changes while singers take a break.

This, only the second Bohème performance of the tour, saw a most deeply moving characterisation of the ill-fated Mimi from the Korean soprano, Elena Dee, her self-effacing picture of a young and impoverished seamstress making the death scene all the more distressing.

With an effortless vocal projection, she blends nicely with Ruslan Zinevych, a Rudolfo who proved a little stressed in the upper stratospheres but was visually ideal as her lover.

The other three young Bohemian’s are full of vitality, and if Ievgenii Lysytskyi’s vivid portrayal of Marcello dominated, it was Volodymyer Kozlov who vocally grasped attention as Schaunard, while Maria Tsonina was an effervescent Musetta. Orchestra members were still bedding themselves into the score, but did all that was necessary.

Puccini’s La Bohème at Buxton Opera House, March 11. 0845 1272190