reviewed by Paula Citron
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Conducted by Julian Kovatchev
Directed by Maer Gronsdal Powell
Starring Frédérique Vézina, David Pomeroy, Anna Leese, Peter Barrett, Peter McGillivray, Robert Gleadow, and Thomas Goerz
At the Four Seasons Centre until May 24
The Canadian Opera Company production of Puccini’s La bohème fields a mostly Canadian cast directed by Canadian Maer Gronsdal Powell, and it is serviceable.
Alas, the singing is better than the direction because Powell has made some very peculiar staging choices that dissipate the emotional infrastructure. Fortunately Bulgarian conductor Julian Kovatchev milks the score, almost a bit self-indulgently, so the music compensates somewhat for Powell’s misdeeds.
Soprano Frédérique Vézina as Mimi had power and drama where it counts. David Pomeroy as Rodolfo is turning into a real robust meat and potatoes tenor, while Peter Barrett’s Marcello shows a honey warm delivery. Bass-baritone Robert Gleadow as Colline continues to impress. Pleasant baritone Peter McGillivray is a bit too light voiced for Schaunard.
New Zealand soprano Anna Leese as Musetta has a bright sound, a bit on the shrill side, but exciting. Sadly, Powell has her overact with shimmies and shakes.
La bohème continues at the Four Seasons Centre until May 24.