<< -- 2 -- Roderic Dunnett UNUSUAL CHEMISTRY
This was the crucial test. The surprise, however, was the quality. Even
the most modest operagoer has probably seen enough Puccini, and certainly
enough Marcellos and Rodolfos strutting the stage not to want to be short-changed.
They weren't. Here was a cast with the assurance to hold an audience mesmerised
from start to finish. There were weaknesses, as there tend to be, in both
the leads -- Chisinau has three or four singers who alternate with each other
in the respective roles of Mimi and Rodolfo, and neither Ruslan Zinevych,
a remarkably teenage-looking Rodolfo, nor Natalia Yutesh, both able, powerful
singers (in Zinevych's case, rather relentlessly so) consistently grabbed
me. But dramatically they held us enthralled, even though Zineych is given
to slightly dotty gestures and attitude-striking that seem entirely redeemable
if attributed to his evident youth : the moment where the 'older' , more
worldly-wise Colline, Schaunard and Marcello mock Rodolfo mercilessly for
his romanticised poetic 'conceits' -- 'She makes flowers, I fashion lines'
-- in the Café Momus was a glorious ironic moment. It is the boy in
this Rodolfo who makes the grand gestures, the boy who must dress to kill,
the boy who hopelessly falls in love, and the boy who gets it all wrong.
The others have seen it before, and (even Marcello) moved on.
It was this unusual chemistry -- contrasted with some of the 'older' Rodolfos
around, though I suspect Chisinau's Nicolae Busuioc, Vasile Cheptenari and
Danilo Formaggia have something of this same youthful quality -- helped make
this Bohème -- to me at least -- so memorable.
Copyright © 15 February 2001
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK
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