Gale Edward’s much heralded production of La Boheme is a perfect winter’s tale. Opening in a freezing artist’s garret, the bundled singers who were huddled for warmth looked much like that evening’s audience who had braved a blustery Sydney winter’s night to attend Puccini’s most popular work. Mimi was peformed by the stunning Takesha Meshé Kizart (Tina Turner’s daughter-in-law and Muddy Water’s grand niece), whose sparking voice filled the Opera House to the rafters. The starving writer and Mimi’s lover, Rodolfo was performed by the superb Korean tenor Ji-Min Park, whose voice complimented Kizart perfectly. Rodolfo’s best friend, the artist Marcello was played by the debonair baritone Jose Carbo. His mistress Musetta was performed by the blonde and vampish, Taryn Fiebig, who did a good job channelling the ghost of Marlene Dietrich. Usually set in 19th century Paris, Edward transforms the story of Left Bank decadence to pre war Berlin in the 1920s. The setting provides a perfect opportunity to stage the second scene in the Spiegel Tent complete with cabaret performers coming from the rafters. If you have never seen an opera, this production of La Boheme is an accessible entry point with the famous final scene of Mimi dying in the garret guaranteed to choke up even the most cynical of hearts.
Until Oct 24, Sydney Opera House, $95-280, 9318 8200, opera-australia.org.au