Brilliant Boheme

The opera, La boheme, is set in Paris in 1830, and reflects the birth of Bohemian culture, blending nostalgia and innovation, and brought to life with drama, music, voices and lovely instrumental contributions in harmony.

Ambitious scenery moving on the Festival Theatre’s large stage took the enthralled audience from a large block of flats to street scenes and bars and gave the opera a frenetic and roller-coaster feel. In four Acts, La boheme portrayed energy, fun, distraction and poignancy in a musical melee with surprising entrances of for example uniformed Customs Officers, a military band and, from nowhere a large group of excited children.

Essentially, the story of Mimi and her love, Rodolfo, who adore each other, is a timeless theme. As so often happens in real life,  the path of true love does not run smoothly and the parallel love story of Musetta and Marcello weaves its way throughout. This challenging production deals with events with both lightness and profound messages, wrapped up in beautiful singing, orchestral music, acting with laughter and, of course, tears never far away.

The eventual sad and moving death of Mimi is meant to represent ‘the end of carefree youthfulness’, and Stefano Valanzuolo comments: ‘La Boheme also seems to signal the end of an Era.’ On the face of it the Christmas scene is full of happiness and fun. But underneath runs the timeless theme of love and loss, riotous living and poverty in almost equal measure. The latter comment is shown by the scene where Musetta makes an elegant appearance with an older admirer, Alendoro. When Musetta sees Marcello she is determined to win him back. Towards the end of a meal being shared the lovers flee the scene with the distraction suddenly of a passing military band and the quartet make off leaving Alandro to pay the bill!

Directed by Alex Olle with the distinguished conduction Giandrea Noseda, the Orchestra and Chorus Teatro Regio Torino, Claudio Fenoglio, Chorus Master and NYCOS Edinburgh Choir conductor, Mark Evans, talented actors and soloists providing the first-rate singing, acting combined with brilliant settings this was altogether entrancing at every level.

Of all the events I have attended during this 70th year of celebration of the Edinburgh International Festival the performance of La Boheme the opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini with a libretto by Guiseppe Giacosa and Luigi after Henry Murger’s scenes de la vue this was truly exciting and memorable.


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Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

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