Today, R and I went with her mother and a couple of other family members to see a high definition broadcast of Puccini’s La Bohème at a local theatre. This was part of a series of broadcasts of opera all over the country.
The Metropolitan Opera of New York City began doing live broadcasts of operas in 2006 to selected theaters in the United States and, now, beyond. (You can find information on this here.) One of the nice things about these broadcasts, which helps make up for not being there in person, is that you are able to be very close to the actors and their singing as the various cameras are right there around them. While the sound would undoubtably be better live (it is hard to make up for being in person) it was well done and we were able to see everything well. Another facet of these broadcasts, which some people will probably hate, is that there are discrete subtitles at the bottom. Since my Italian is not so good, I actually enjoy this as the witty and ribald songs are much more fun when you can follow them closely and not just in a general sense.
The production for this particular show was done by the famous Franco Zeffirelli and the cast included Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier, Quinn Kelsey, Oren Gradus, and Paul Plishka. There is a cast sheet with a synopsis available as well if you are not familiar with this opera.
Rodolfo, the male lead, was played by Ramón Vargas. We had seen him a year ago when we attended another broadcast (as part of the same overall program) when he played one of the main roles in Eugene Onegin. I’m becoming quite fond of him after these two performances as I’ve been blown away by his singing and acting.
Below, I’ve included a Youtube video of a segment of “La Bohème” with the role of Rodolfo played by Jose Carreras.