by April Foster
An enthusiastic sell-out crowd filled the Egyptian Theatre on Feb. 17 for Opera Idaho’s presentation of La Boheme.
The eager audience was decked out in fine coats and dresses, with the majority of seats occupied by older folks. However, there were also a surprising number of young people in attendance.
The stage set-up was modest, with a backdrop that depicted the 1840s Parisian Latin Quarter with a number of tables, beds and chairs used as props. The story, which many might recognize from its modern adaptation Rent, follows the tale of two lovers and their band of bohemian friends.
Rolando Sanz played the lead role of the poet Rodolfo fantastically. From his soaring and impeccable tenor, to his smooth acting and vivid facial expressions, Sanz's performance was flawless and emotionally moving. Greek soprano Eleni Calenos, who played the role of the coquettish, terminally ill Mimi was similarly engaging with her huge vocal delivery and passionate acting.
The costumes were elaborate and stayed true to the Victorian Era setting. During scenes at the market, the stage was crowded with vibrantly colored frocks that provided ample eye candy. Overhead, a projector displayed a loose translation of the characters’ dialogue for the audience to follow along.
The orchestra was cramped into the pit at the foot of the stage. At approximately 15 people strong, the ensemble provided perfectly timed accompaniment to the actors’ and actresses’ vocal deliveries.
Opera Idaho executed the lofty production of La Boheme gracefully. The singing and acting were first-rate, the set was visually engaging and the costumes were bright and extravagant. Even the most serious Opera fanatics were loitering around the Egyptian lobby afterward gushing about how satisfying the production was.