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Opera from 23 February 2006 to 11 March 2006
Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gore, London
Puccini's La Boheme - Staged in the round - Sung in English
Francesca Zambello's stunning production of Puccini's La Boheme was first performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004 when it enthralled the hearts of both the press and the public.
"A terrific production no opera lover should miss" The Sunday Express
From the rapturous grand scale celebrations of Cafe Momus to the tender intimacy of the artisan's garret, audiences were drawn from all sides into the unfolding action on the Arena stage where passion and spectacle mixed with despair and ultimate tragedy.
"A visual coup" The London Evening Standard
Staged fully in the round with set design by Peter J. Davison, costumes by Sue Willmington and original choreography by Arthur Pita, this production has already captivated 50,000 people as the entire floor of the Royal Albert Hall was transformed into 1940's Paris. The gaiety of the station café, the bitter cold of the police checkpoint and the harsh reality of the student's stark surroundings - all beautifully depicted and brought to life in every detail.
Now Francesca Zambello's production of Puccini's La Boheme returns for 12 perforamnces only! Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung in English.
"Straight to the heart" The Daily Telegraph
"Francesca Zambello's in-the-round staging of La Boheme updates Puccini's great study of desire and social deprivation to just after the second world war. It is not an original idea... but in Zambello's hands the transposition is often startlingly effective... The huge scale of the production doesn't preclude intimacy, and Zambello deploys the vast space to suggest both emotional closeness and bitter alienation. This is her best production in ages... The opera is consistently well sung and acted... This is a powerful, haunting Boheme, well worth seeing." The Guardian
"It's a spectacular in the best traditions of the Gubbay show, with roller-skating waiters, street vendors, a juggler to keep the kids happy, tangos for the grown-ups, and a brilliant array of mid-20th-century clothing in Sue Wilmington's costume design. All this lavishness might work against the opera's essential intimacy... Yet as soon as the focus moved in on the main characters, Francesca Zambello's direction stripped away the distance and worked the arena effect of the all-round seating to generate a steady rise in intensity through to the inevitable but still devastating moment of Mimi's death." The Independent