La Boheme in its final stages

Syracuse Opera held a dress rehearsal last night of Puccini's "La Boheme" which demonstrated the clear, romantic vision of director Joseph Bascetta and a solid cast.

Puccini's most beloved characters came to life last night as Syracuse Opera unveiled a traditional, but vibrant, vision of 19th-century Paris.

 "The show is fresh, youthful, and realistic,"  said director Joseph Bascetta before the performance. "It is relevant to everyone because it gets down to the basics of life: love, relationships, separations, and death."

The opening scene when the landlord Benoit (John Davies) comes to collect rent from Rodolfo (Brian Jadge), Marcello (Timothy Kuhn), Colline (Christopher Temporelli), and Schaunard (Matthew Hayward) proved that the show was in the hands of a seasoned director. It was funny, light, and immediately drew the audience into the atmosphere of the artists' apartment.

"It has to be so real that people can watch it like a piece of theater," said Bascetta, who according to his cast, can play all the roles at least as well as any one of them individually. A veteran of this production, he directed his first "Boheme" in 1975.

Sara Jakubiak gave a fine performance as Mimi, projecting a crystal clear lyric soprano voice that brought the audience to an ovation after the opera's signature aria, "Mi chiamano Mimi."

Brian Jadge, who is singing tenor for the first time, revealed himself as a natural in this tessitura, adding a dose of youth and vigor to the role of Rodolfo.

Kate Mangiameli provided great comic relief in the role of Musetta, and Timothy Kuhn's bass reasonated with tremendous stamina.

Douglas Kinney-Frost conducted the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra with a firm hand, avoiding any glitches until the end of Act II, where coordination between the singers and the orchestra forced everyone to stop and retake a phrase.

But they always say a good dress rehearsal is bad luck.

Boyd Ostroff's sets provided a mellow backdrop of meandering Parisian streets, and the children's chorus made a very professional appearance.

The premiere of La Boheme tommorow night is sure to be one of the most exicting events this year. If you like musical theater or even straight theater, you might find a new outlet in this opera.




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