Saturday, May 30, 2009

La Bohème, Bayerische Staatsoper, München 31. Mai 2009

La Bohème
Giacomo Puccini
Giuseppe Giacosa und Luigi Illica

Nationaltheater, München
Sonntag, 31. Mai 2009

Musikalische Leitung Daniele Callegari
Inszenierung Otto Schenk
Bühne und Kostüme Rudolf Heinrich
Chöre Andrés Máspero

Mimi Anna Netrebko
Musetta Jessica Muirhead
Rodolfo Joseph Calleja
Marcello Nikolay Borchev
Schaunard Christian Rieger
Colline John Relyea
Parpignol Ho-Chul Lee
Benoît Alfred Kuhn
Alcindoro Rüdiger Trebes
Ein Zöllner Christopher Magiera
Sergeant der Zollwache Igor Bakan

Bayerisches Staatsorchester
Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper

La Bohème - Synopsis

Herbert attended also the third and last performance of the run and he wrote a short report:
The performance was sold out, of course, but today there were not so many people of the "high society" in the audience as last Thursday, but "ordinary" opera lovers who showed their feelings at the end of the performance. I saw some ladies wiping tears out of their eyes after Mimi had died and Rodolfo had broken down at her deathbed. There was a storm or even a tornado of applause - people were stamping their feet and cheering and applauding like hell. The German President Horst Köhler and his wife were also present, and they stood up like anybody else and kept applauding at curtain calls.

There was a large crowd of fans at the stage door again. Joseph Calleja had to sign many autographs before he came out to get some fresh air. He said that tomorrow (!) he had rehearsals in London!

Then Anna came, in a short white coat. She was clever and promised that she would sign everything - but PLEASE outside where she would get some fresh air. So everybody went out with her and then she spent at least 20 minutes or more in front of the stage door and signed programmes, answered questions, talked about President Köhler who visited her backstage and was photographed many many times. She also accepted to be photpgraphed side by side with her fans. Finally, when everybody was happy, she waved and said good-bye and then she walked down the street, I guess she went to the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten.

The second report comes from Attila, who was also there for the last performance of the run.
Anna Netrebreko expects to sing Trovatore in 2012.

Mingling with fans at the stage door after the third successful performance of La Boheme in Munich, Anna gave a date for when she expects to sing the role of Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore - in 3 years time. She made the comment after dismissing my suggestion that she should sing Madame Butterfly. "Oh, no! Not Butterfly!" she said scrunching up her face "But I will sing Trovatore." When? "In three years."

Anna looked like a star; fresh and visibly relieved that the short run of Boheme's was finished. Anna stood with people in the street outside the stagedoor; chatting to everyone in turn, standing for photographs, making jokes, accepting expensive presents. Someone suggested she had been even better tonight than the previous performance on Thursday. She made a face dismissing the compliment "Really?? Nooooo!" This was not the same Anna we had seen in a post-performance trance on Thursday. Tonight's show had been more like a working evening for her.

Tonight's performance was indeed different because it wasn't the simple intuitive vocal approach but instead more of an interpretive performance, one which she made happen, rather than one of those evenings which just happen on their own. I think the relatively weak cast and conductor was a factor in making Anna pull out all the stops in this Boheme - aided and abetted by Calleja who was again fantastic this evening.

From the very beginning Anna sang with a noticeably richer voice, spinning the tone rather than just floating it; a slightly more Bellini-esque way of singing. It seemed that now she has fully regained the flexibility and ease of the upper voice, she is putting back into it more of its characteristic dark richness. For me it gave her interpretation more of a sense of forboding, certain passages - particularly the last act really benefitting from the extra body in the lower part of the voice.

Interpretation-wise, her themes were a little easier to read. In the first act, her fear of isolation was palpable; when Rodolfo is calling down to his friends in the street telling them he will follow, you could see the fear in Anna's face at the prospect of yet another evening alone. When Rudolfo invites her to join them for the Christmas Eve festivities, the invitation is a dream come true for her. She is seduced not just by his charm, but by the possibility of the kind of wonderful partying bohemian social life she probably envisaged when sher first arrived in Paris but which had so far elluded her.

In act two, Anna shows Mimi entering a whole new vagabond lifestyle with her new friends; I particularly liked the touch where Mimi steals a bottle of wine from the table and puts it under her shawl, passing it to Rudolfo who hides in his jacket.

The third act became one long extended duet for Anna and Calleja, as the fears of both of them - her fear of loneliness, and his fear of her imminent death -- turn miraculously into the warmest possible love duet. Calleja's envelopping arms were even more sensual this evening, turning the lovers' togetherness into a protective shelter from the harsh cold snowy winter. When Marcello and Musetta are having their comic squabble, Mimi and Rudolfo are totally oblivious to a world of arguments and bitterness; locked in an unending embrace - an eternal kiss.

In the final act, Mimi is back in her adoptive world with her beloved group of friends, oblivious to her own illness - but she is not the usual delirious Mimi who doesn't understand what's going on around her. This Mimi has made a journey from the 'nobody' she was when she first appeared on the stage, conquering all her fears through love and through her proximity to death. Unlike her Vienna Traviata who dies disconnected from the people and the world around her, this Mimi can face death easily because she has achieved a connectedness. Her added vocal richness and her earthbound quality made this evening's death seen much more real and human.

Calleja was great, especially in Acts 3 and 4. His fear of Mimi's worsening illness in Act 3 becomes a trauma in Act 4 when Mimi is brought in. He is absolutely devastated, finally breaking down in tears when Shaunard and Colline leave the two of them alone. It's this emotional devastation he suffers which stops him realising Mimi has died, his suffering isolates him from the reality going on around him. So when he does realise she has died, it brings him crashing back down to earth. An earth in which Mimi is no longer alive.

Press Reviews

On-line Press Reviews
München, Bayerische Staatsoper: LA BOHÈME, 31.05.09, Gisela Schmöger, Der Neue Merker [German]

English translated extracts of a number of reviews published in German press or websites, for different performances of the run, are available at the press review section of Joseph Calleja's website.

Photo Album
Curtain calls photos [1-4] by Herbert

Stage door photos [1-10] by Herbert

Related posts
La Bohème, Bayerische Staatsoper, München 24. Mai 2009
La Bohème, Bayerische Staatsoper, München 28. Mai 2009


  1. Thanks a lot to Herbert and Attila for their wonderful and very interesting reports, reviews and photos.
    And of course, thanks to Carlos for his blog.

    Obviously thanks to Anna too...


  2. Attilalondon@msn.comJune 1, 2009 at 11:22 PM

    I am in one of Herbert's photos. Can anybody guess which one?!

  3. Yes, I know which one, but I had previously seen a photo of you. In fact, when I got your report yesterday and I realize that you were also there at the stage door, I took another look to the photos and I was wondering if this one was you.

  4. Thanks for their reviews, too ! I was so excited that I have only heard "in 3 years" but I didn't understand what she was exactely talking about ! I thought maybe she means Desdemona

  5. Guess # 1: the white shirt with blue ornaments?

  6. Oh yes and btw, you're not right. She didn't check in at the Vier Jahreszeiten...

  7. One of the best posts I've ever read. Thanks a lot everybody. You all make me want to buy more tickets to get to see her.

  8. Sencillamente preciosa. Sería de admirar aunque no cantara como una Diosa... es un ángel la jodía.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...