David Benedict on theatre
Friday 14 June 1996
The man charged with injecting life into the production, aka the director, is Steven Pimlott, something of a specialist in large-scale music theatre with Carmen at Earl's Court, Sunday in the Park with George at the National and the recent smash revival of Joseph... to his credit.
He also had the dubious pleasure of opening Dennis Marks's regime at ENO. As you would expect with his theatre credentials, his 1994 production of La boheme was no canary-fanciers' night out. His production genuinely qualifies as theatre, and watching the revival is a real pleasure and not just for opera-lovers. Pimlott's fingerprints are all over it, partly thanks to his regular collaborators. Hugh Vanstone's sharply etched sculptural lighting creates interiors and exteriors from Tobias Hoheisel's single set, which moves from a chilly loft in the 1950s to the action-packed cafe.
It is the latter which really shows off the strengths of the production (below). Alive with detail, helped by a punchy Jeremy Sams translation, it is a tremendously animated crowd scene from start to finish. For once, there is none of that ghastly generalised chorus acting. Among the (excellent) principals, Roberto Salvatori as Marcello and Rebecca Caine as Musetta run away with the evening, not just through powerfully focused singing, but their vibrant characterisations. Together with Alex Ingram's marvellous conducting, it's a great night out.
ENO, London WC2 (0171-632 8300)
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Yorkshire man to win £10,000 off a £1 bet placed six years ago if Dan Jarvis becomes Labour Party leader
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 5 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, TV review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear: Former Stig Ben Collins says show 'will always continue' with or without suspended host
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'