Annapolis Opera’s production of La bohème is a visual as well as musical treat. Directed by Joshua Horowitz and conducted by Artistic and Music Director Craig Kier, it blends beautiful music with rich, emotionally stirring singing and lovely movements. It is a wonderful way to open the 2022/23 season.
Rafael Moras brings an intensity to Rodolpho, the artist in love with Mimi (Kara Goodrich). He drops to his knees and weeps thinking of Mimi with another man. Helping her look for her key, he scoots closer to her. Goodrich plays Mimi with a quiet strength, calmly telling Moras “Goodbye, with no bitterness” during their argument. She gives hints about her illness at the start, collapsing onto a chair and leaning over a barrel after a coughing fit. Both Moras and Goodrich make the opera’s final moments devastatingly powerful.
Nicholas Davis plays the artist Marcello with great comedy. He kids around with the other Bohemians, wearing a shawl to dance with Rodolfo. Trying to resist the charms of Musetta (Lindsay Ohse), he finally leaps into her arms. Ohse plays Musetta with determination. Wanting to get Marcello’s attention, she steps on his foot, then makes a show of raising her skirt in a hilariously scandalous way.
Christian Simmons most powerful moment as the philosopher Colline comes when he sings about selling his great overcoat. Titus Muzi gives a nobility to the musician Schaunard. Andrew Adelsberger brings humor to Benoit the landlord, drunkenly revealing his secrets and being thrown out by the Bohemians. Brandon Lockhart gives a simple charm to Parpignol the toy vendor as the children crowd around him.
Set Designer Julia Noulin-Merat has created a nice three-dimensional set, especially the Bohemians’ quarters. Stairs go up to Marcello’s studio in the background, with a large window, while a daybed, table, and art supplies are in the foreground. Lighting Designer Christopher Brusberg uses light to reflect the changing emotions. In Act I, with the low lighting, the studio feels charming, the perfect romantic setting for Rodolfo and Mimi, while in Act IV, bright lights reveal its poverty and dinginess.
Craig Kier perfectly conducts the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, letting the music show its power and range while balancing it well against the singing. Joshua Horowitz does a wonderful job as director. The singers interact with each other in ways that feel organic and give a deep, powerful richness to the lyrics. They bring Puccini’s classic opera to beautiful life.
Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.
La bohème plays Sunday, August 28, 2022, at 3:00 pm presented by Annapolis Opera performing at Maryland Hall for the Performing Arts – 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD. For tickets ($28–$85), call the box office at 410-280-5640 or purchase online.
Presented in Italian with English subtitles.
The program for La bohème is online here.
COVID Safety: Masks are encouraged for all performances but optional inside the building and theater.
For information about future Annapolis Opera productions and special events, visit annapolisopera.org.
Why we love ‘La bohéme’: A Q&A with Annapolis Opera’s Maestro Craig Kier (interview by Charles Green)