On Saturday I went to see the dress rehearsal of La Bohème. The story begins with two men in a cold apartment in Paris. The two men are struggling artists, Marcello is a painter and Rodolfo is a poet. They can barely keep themselves warm in their freezing apartment and in a desperate attempt to warm themselves they throw Rodolfos’s poems on the fire. A friend then walks into the flat, he is a musician and has just been hired. He brings wine and food with him and is celebrating getting paid, he tells his friends that they should go out and celebrate in the evening. Later Rodolfo is alone in the apartment, finishing some work and is about to join his friends for drinks when, suddenly there is a knock at the door. It is a young woman named Mimi and she is looking for a candle so she can light her way home.
Rodolfo and Mimi speak for a long time and tell each other about themselves, they instantly fall in love. Mimi accompanies Rodolfo to the bar to meet his friends. At the bar a singer named Musetta charges in with an older gentleman carrying multiple gifts (we assume for her). Musetta is the centre of attention, she is loud and is clearly pining for the attention of her ex lover Marcello. Wise to her charm and tricks to allure men, Marcello tries to ignore her flirtatiously parading around the restaurant. After many attempts Musetta finally succeeds in seducing Marcello and the two begin dating again.
Mimi is terribly ill, she has a fierce cough and Rodolfo is aware that she hasn’t got much longer to live. Afraid that he cannot provide the best care for her on his meagre living, and fearful of her being taken from him, he decides to try and break off the relationship. The two have a dispute and decide that they cannot be apart from one another during the winter and, decide to split up when spring arrives.
The men having separated from Mimi and Musetta are carrying on with their lives, it is clear that both still miss their former lovers but are trying their best to carry on as normal. Suddenly Musetta bursts in with urgent news that Mimi is very sick. The men help carry Mimi into their apartment and Mimi and Rodolfo have a moment together singing about their love for one another. The opera ends with Mimi sighing her last breath and Rodolfo clutching her in his arms.
The orchestra were fantastic, the atmosphere they were able to create was sensational. Whilst this opera is about love, death and the struggles of an artist there was still a lot of humour which certainly lightened the tone and showed the comradely the artists had with each other. The set design was really beautiful and portrayed Paris in the 1930’s very convincingly. The transitions of the scenes were also very dynamic, cast members who played people in the crowd would turn the set to reveal a new scene. I found it very beneficial to go and see the opera we are animating because it allowed me to deepen my understanding of the characters. The most helpful aspect for me was to see the scene that we are animating, to see how the characters move and interact was very informative.