September/October 2006 issue
Maritime Concert Opera produced La BohÃ¨me as part of its second annual Summer Opera Festival, with a performance that surpassed its previous success with Barber of Seville. For the South Shore of Nova Scotia, opera in concert has proven to be a brilliant response to the intensity of musical demand and the scarcity of opera-appropriate local venues. Under Nina Scott-Stoddartâ€™s inspiring artistic direction and Tara Scottâ€™s flawless musical interpretation, Pucciniâ€™s beautiful music was very well served.
Rodolfo (Keith Klassen) and Mimi (Amber Bishop) were dramatically convincing in their roles, singing their doomed fate with passionate sincerity. Both singers were new to MCO and ensured that the audience would fall in love with both of them. Marcello (Andrew Tees) and Musetta (Janna Pardy) added grace, humor and maturity to the production. The set consisted of a row of black music stands to which Musettaâ€™s shimmering dress added a vivid flash of color. The rich voice of Colline (Robert Milne) added depth to the production and he delighted the audience with his song to his coat. The entire cast transcended the stark simplicity of the stage and their powerful voices removed any need for sets. With Tara Scott at the piano, the immediacy of the voices was accentuated. She once again served her cast well and the production sounded as if it had an entire orchestra behind it.
The chorus consisted entirely of local singers, but the enthusiastic support of the sold-out audience was for the uncompromising beauty of the performance.