Wednesday was La Bohème at the San Francisco Opera. How much can one say about La Bohème? I didn't cry.
Mimi was sung by Angela Gheorghiu. It is very important for me to say that I had no trouble hearing her. Angela's Mimi is a thing of beauty. There was a very catty interview with her in Opera News this month, but I'm still on her side. If I had paid to see Angela, I would not have liked being stuck with the understudy.
I enjoyed Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo. He sounded and looked just as he should.
I thought Norah Amsellem as Musetta looked and especially sounded familiar. She is the Micaela in the Jonas Kaufmann Carmen from the ROH. She was lively and fun, but unfortunately for her my previous Musetta at San Francisco was Anna Netrebko who simply exploded in the role. BOOM!
I liked the production. The scene at the Cafe Momus was staged indoors. I had only one problem--in the last scene the guys seemed to all look alike.
The other big event of the evening was my introduction to the conducting of Nicola Luisotti, the new musical director of the San Francisco Opera. My impression was good. The style was right, the coordination with the singers was excellent and best of all he paced the opera with great skill. You have to be paying a lot of attention to notice this aspect of conducting. How the music moves from scene to scene is all in the conductor's control. Luisotti will bring a new emphasis on Italian repertoire where Runnicles excelled in German. I wish him luck.