Last night I attended an Opera Southwest presentation of Puccini's La Bohème. I notice they have borrowed their costumes--or at least the designs--from the Santa Fe Opera, and the titles from Nevada Opera. The conductor, Michael Borowitz, was also borrowed from the Nevada Opera. The orchestra pit in the Kimo Theater is the style associated with musicals, with a narrow opening and not much space inside. The relatively small orchestra was fine and never drowned out the singers.
Suzanne Woods as Mimi and John Pickle as Rodolfo are both from New York City. My biggest criticism of them is how much better they got as they went along. His high notes started to open up and she began to relax into the phrases. What could this mean besides inadequate warm up? The third act is too late! They're both very talented but should know better--the best part of La Bohème is in Act I. Ron Loyd as Marcello is also from NYC. Perhaps they all know one another.
Suzanne Woods seemed the only one who truly grasped Puccini. There is something wrong when people are singing in Italian, and I can understand them. My Italian isn't that good. Believe me, this never happens in the big houses. Everything needs to be about 100 times more legato. If you are connecting the notes the way you should be, I won't be able to tell what you're saying.
Enough. I am being way too bitchy. They are all lovely, enthusiastic young people. Leslie Umphrey, a local girl, was fabulous as Musetta.