Opera is not either of our thing. Things. But we went to see a new version of La Boheme performed over a pub in Kilburn last summer, and it was fantastic. Rewritten and sung in English, by singers who are actually the age their characters are supposed to be (young twenties), on a set (crappy apartment) that really makes you feel like they are young starving wannabe artists just trying to get by. I had never really felt what I imagine La Boheme – or for that matter any opera – was trying to get me to feel before, but in this show I finally got it.
And by this description you might think “This sounds interesting enough, but I’m pretty sure I already saw this show, back when it was called Rent.” Not the same thing; this is still really an opera, with arias, duets, and no rock band. It goes quickly, and you will be amazed at what an opera singer, in his or her twenties and before he/she has put on the extra seventy pounds that seems de rigueur for older singers, sounds like when they’re singing fifteen feet away from you.
The production has just gone up at
the Soho Theatre and we may well get tickets to see it again. In the meantime, just posting about it in case anyone out there wants to move more quickly than we are.
UPDATE: It sold out its run at the Soho Theatre and has now moved to the theatre over the King’s Head pub on Upper Street (around the corner from the Almeida) and runs until 23 March.