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Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme


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#16 Farrell Fan

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 02:30 PM

I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard and read, my sense is there were no cuts. It would be extremely difficult, not to mention unnecessary, to cut La Boheme. There's nothing extraneous in the opera, which is pretty much true of all Puccini operas, unlike those of many other composers.

#17 Calliope

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 02:36 PM

I was just surprised, since it was 2 hrs 15 minutes. Minus the 20 minute intermission, and 2 5-minute pauses.

making it under 2 hours.

I always though opera was long. :(

#18 Farrell Fan

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 05:01 PM

An hour and 45 minutes of actual running time coincides with the length of an old La Boheme 2-LP album I have (with de los Angeles, Bjoerling, and Merrill, for those interested). It lasts longer in the opera house, though, because there are usually three intermissions. But I like the idea of one intermission and two 5-minute pauses instead. :(

#19 dirac

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 05:23 PM

That's a wonderful set. I have it on LP, too.


My understanding is that the score of the Luhrmann production is uncut.

#20 kfw

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 05:48 PM

If only that recording wasn't mono. Thanks to all for the fascinating reports.

#21 Juliet

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 09:10 PM

While far from an expert, I know every note of this particular score and it was presented in entirety.

#22 Calliope

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 02:33 AM

Thanks Juliet.
I just saw an interview with Baz, he said not a note was changed.

#23 Manhattnik

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 02:40 AM

The de los Angeles/Bjoerling Boheme is also on CD, and occupies a place of honor on my iMac and iPod (it's nice to have it at my fingertips where I may be!); as the CD of the Buhrmann production is now out, I think it's soon going to have some company.

#24 rkoretzky

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 07:00 AM

My only familiarity with Baz Luhrman is the film "Moulin Rouge", which I disliked--in a big way. One of the tag lines for this production is "if you liked Moulin Rouge, you'll LOVE....". So what if you didn't like Moulin Rouge?

My daughter's teacher plays in the orchestra for La Boehme, and she suggested seeing it, firmly.

My main problem with the film was sensory overload. Does this production have a similar feeling?

Opinions, anyone?

#25 balletmama

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 07:19 AM

I felt some sensory overload in the cafe scene, but I think that suits the subject. (Keep in mind also that I am very sensitive, don't go to rock concerts, etc.). For the rest, the set is surprisingly small and the "action" focuses on a very few characters at a time.

This isn't as different from a traditional opera production as all the hype would have one expect/fear. I heard an interview on NPR in which an Opera News critic voiced his fear, prior to opening night, that the singers would be "belting" since the show is on Broadway! It's nothing like that at all.

#26 BW

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 08:01 AM

Just FYI I just heard on WNYC that tomorrow afternoon at 4pm or 4:30? they'll be discussing this program...now that they've seen it, I guess. :)

#27 Mary J

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Posted 16 December 2002 - 08:01 AM

I haven't seen this production yet, although I would like to (even though I did not "get" Moulin Rouge, I adored Strictly Ballroom). Anyone who enjoys the music of Boheme in this production should give New York City Opera's productions a try. The singers are generally young and attractive (if that matters to you) and many of the productions are imaginative and not at all stodgy. And if money is a problem, get a standing room place the next time the Met does Boheme - the production there is by Zefferelli, also a movie director, who loves attractive singer-actors and lots of action on stage, and the production values are superb.

#28 dancermom2

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Posted 21 December 2002 - 05:20 PM

The NY Times in it's Sunday edition on 12-22-02 has a review of this production of La Boheme from the viewpoint of someone who loves opera. (I get parts of the Sunday paper on Saturday!) His major criticsm is that the Broadway production is using amplification for the voices which he basically views as heresy for those who are true opera afficianados. He also complains about the small orchestra being used as compared to what there would be at the Metropolitan Opera House. I was wondering how those who attend La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera would react to this production and his was obviously not on the favorable side. He feels that the attempt to use young 20 something voices is going to wreck the development of their voices in the true tradition of opera since he feels that the amplification being used is a crutch. He feels that there is a reason that you see older mature performers on the traditional Opera stage. ..you need maturity to find the ability to project your voice without the amplification and to nuance your voice. He definitely feels that something is lost in this production.

#29 Calliope

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Posted 22 December 2002 - 04:40 AM

I haven't seen the review yet, but I didn't find the sound to be bothersome at all.
The orchestra was more than adequate, and they have 3 rotating casts to protect the singers voices.
I think the show is meant, as it states in the playbill, to be an intro to opera.
It needs to be viewed and reviewed as a Broadway show.

#30 rkoretzky

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Posted 22 December 2002 - 05:24 AM

The next interesting question is where this production will be placed with regard to the Tonys. Best new musical? I don't think so, if it is indeed faithful to the score and libretto. Best revival? Never played on Broadway. What to do???

My daughter's teacher is really enjoying playing in the orchestra. She has also played at the Met.


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