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<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    RADIANCE OF RECONCILIATION


But their musical vitality was enchanting, as when Schaunard the musician returns flush from three days of piano-playing to stupefy a troublesome parrot. The money earned meant Christmas fare beyond their wildest expectation [listen -- Quadro Primo, In Soffitta]. But with something in the coffers, they can now celebrate Christmas Eve at the Café Momus, leaving Rodolfo momentarily behind to make the acquaintance of Mimi and feel the temperature of her hand. Obviously unwell, she yet tells her sad story and the relationship begins [listen -- Quadro Primo, In Soffitta].

[watch and listen to a sequence from Act II using the player below -- needs an Apple Quicktime plugin -- high speed connection preferred].

The set for Act 2 has the bustling street above and crowded café below. Zeffirelli juggles his innumerable extras with uncanny skill. There is never a dull visual moment: crowds interweave with the ease of total assurance, while waiters below are fussily attentive, ubiquitous, ready to pounce on a bill paid and possible tip. Schaunard purchases a horn, Colline the philosopher a used coat, while Mimi and Rodolfo have an enchanting new tune to warm them [listen -- Quadro Secondo, Al Quartiere Latino]. Musetta's most provocative moment, enough to madden all bystanders and significantly lengthen her catalogue of conquests, is her complaint of a pinching shoe, demonstrated by drawing up her skirts to reveal an impressive length of red stocking.

Hei-Kyung Hong as Musetta in Act II. DVD still frame © 2003 Rai Trade
Hei-Kyung Hong as Musetta in Act II. DVD still frame © 2003 Rai Trade


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Copyright © 23 December 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


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