Past Productions Archive: La Bohème 2017
In June 2017 The Black Cat Opera Company brought Fred Broom's witty and poignant production of Puccini's tragicomic masterpiece La Bohème to The Electric Theatre, Guildford, and The Lights, Andover.
Mimi: Lynsey Docherty
Rodolfo: Konstantinos Latsos
Marcello: Pauls Putnins
Musetta: Raphaela Papadakis
Schaunard: Themba Mvula
Colline: Matthew Tomko
Benoît/Alcindoro: Gheorghe Palcu
Parpignol: Ólafur Rúnarsson
Ensemble: Beatrice Acland, Sam Barrett, George Butler, Siobhan Chapman, Rebecca Ibbott, Yalın İşnel, Ólafur Rúnarsson, Jenny Warren.
Musical Director: Peter Ford
Director: Fred Broom
Répétiteur: Julie Aherne
Assistant Director: Yalın İşnel
Stage Manager: Lisa O'Brien
Deputy Stage Manager: Joe Jenner
Andover Advertiser, 7 July 2017:
"The Black Cat Opera Company gave Andover audiences an opportunity to hear first-class voices in The Lights. This international cast gave a superb performance of Puccini’s enduring classic in a production by director Fred Broom.
Conductor Peter Ford led a well-paced performance, giving clarity to the musical character of each act whilst remaining sensitive to the drama. Pianist Julie Aherne provided strong support, making it easy to forget there was not an orchestra.
The first half focussed on comedy, playing on the obvious chemistry between the men of the cast. Themba Mvula was notably engaging as an energetic Schaunard, and was well partnered with the dry humour and rich tones of Matthew Tomko’s Colline.
Pauls Putnins’ powerful yet sympathetic Marcello was a masterclass in the range of subtlety that a big voice can achieve. He was paired with Raphaela Papadakis’ sparkling Musetta. Her portrayal as a Parisian celebrity resonated well with a modern audience.
Exceptional throughout was Konstantinos Latsos as Rodolfo. Vocally magnificent, especially in his aria (‘Che gelida manina’) and the subsequent duet (‘O soave fanciulla’), his character moved seamlessly from the naivety and boyish charm of the first half to the guilt-ridden young man of the second.
The excellent small chorus worked to transform the set, both between acts and during the drama. The old and young of the Latin Quarter were depicted by the same ten singers. There was wonderful attention to detail, and the sharp-eyed would have spotted a child playing with a doll dressed as Musetta.
Mimi is the catalyst for the drama in La Bohème, and soprano Lynsey Docherty demonstrated a remarkable range of vocal colour. This was especially evident in Act 3: her aria (‘Donde lietà’), as Mimi gently released Rodolfo ‘without bitterness’, contrasted vividly with her anguished tones as she poured out Mimi’s torment to Marcello.
Act 4 marked a return to the comedy of the beginning. There was some genuinely funny role-play, and a well-choreographed mock fight, cut short by the arrival of Musetta and the now terminally ill Mimi.
In the final scene, each of the characters made their own simple sacrifice in support of their friend, and Matthew Tomko gave a soulful rendition of Colline’s famous coat aria. Thanks to some beautiful sotto voce singing, it seemed less like Mimi was dying and more that she was fading away."
by Doug Breakwell