La bohème: a trick of success well resolved by Pirgu and Lombardi

Valencia, 9 Dec. This Friday, the Palau de les Arts in Valencia hosted a new performance of “La bohème”, by Giacomo Puccini, a masterful opera that was widely accepted by the public, with success corroborated again on this occasion thanks to the outstanding performance of the couple protagonist, the tenor Saimir Pirgu, as Rodolfo, and the soprano Federica Lombardi, as Mimi.

With an Orchestra of the Valencian Community directed with special care and mastery by its owner, James Gaffigan, the story of this group of bohemians once again moved the Valencian public, who completely filled the capacity and gave warm applause to both the six characters principals, as well as the musicians of the Valencian formation, which is once again at a more than reasonable level of excellence.

The programming of this popular opera within the long bridge of the Constitution and the Immaculate Conception allowed for a full history, with a very diverse public, both local and from other parts of the Spanish geography in these short vacations, and also with exceptional assistants, such as the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, and the Ministers of Culture, Raquel Tamarit, and of Justice and Public Administrations, Gabriela Bravo.

With a scenography that combines tradition and modernity, Davide Livermore, who was Mayor and artistic director of the Arts between 2015 and 2017, presents us with a classic room with a sloping ceiling and oblique walls, in which he has incorporated technological elements, such as screens digital images of Paris at the end of the 19th century and reproductions of paintings by French impressionist painters related to a plot that wisely combines comedy and drama are projected.

The four male protagonists (an idealistic and vitalist poet -Rodolfo-, a painter -Marcello-, a philosopher -Colline- and a musician -Schaunard-) barely live in Paris, sharing a flat and managing not to pay the rent and eat every day, but always ready to move forward with imagination and ingenuity, a situation that could be comparable to what young millennials currently suffer after graduating from a university degree and not being able to find work.

The female protagonists are two women with very different profiles: Mimi is a humble seamstress, in failing health, who suffers from the unfounded jealousy exhibited by the man she has fallen in love with. On the other hand, Musetta is a flirtatious woman, free and without ties, capable of faking love to achieve a pleasant life without problems, but also willing to give everything for her friends.

The Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu (Rodolfo) and the Italian soprano Federica Lombardi (Mimí) were brilliant in their duets and arias, successively transmitting passion, rejection, pain and despair, in a story of truncated love that easily reaches the soul of the viewer.

The Italian baritone Mattia Olivieri demonstrated once again that he is a good singer and a better actor, playing Marcello, Rodolfo and Mimi’s confidante, who tries to put a stop to the bad relationship between them, and who in turn lives a stormy relationship with Musetta, a character exquisitely incarnated by the Valencian soprano Marina Monzó, who puts the world up for a montera when she assures that she is a woman without prejudices who makes love with whoever she wants, although that frivolity hides a great heart capable of giving the little she has to try to save to her friend Mimi.

The baritone from Jaén Damián del Castillo (Schaunard) and the Valencian bass Manuel Fuentes (Colline) successfully completed this story about the futility of life and the death of love, but dotted with sparkling moments such as the scene of the Christmas party in the Café Momus in the second act or the comic parody of the four male leads in the fourth act, ridiculing the bohemian life and the misery in which they find themselves immersed.

James Gaffigan, who has brought sensitivity, tenderness and tension to the members of the Orquesta de la Comunidad Valenciana in a score of beautiful melodies, once again won public recognition, as did Davide Livermore, who was warmly received at his return to Les Arts after his stormy departure in 2017.

Joan Castello

La bohème: a trick of success well resolved by Pirgu and Lombardi