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But for this conspicuous gaffe, Acts 3 and 4 were effectively managed and the evocative early morning scenes as hawkers, cleaners, and kitchen hands shuffle through the overnight checkpoint to start their work were convincingly subdued.
In its latter stages, Act 3's interaction, Rodolfo's self recriminations, Mimì's worsening situation and the heated bickering between Marcello and Musetta revealed faultless timing and perfectly inflected vocal exchanges.
As the Act 4 denouement approaches and the impecunious student band focus their full attention on the stricken Mimì, the NZ Opera La bohème gains its fullest stature; Halloran convey's Mimì's final conscious lines with beautiful resignation and the onlookers register their grief with grace and dignity.
Antoinette Halloran as Mimì and Jesus Garcia as Rodolfo in New Zealand Opera's production of 'La bohème'. Photo © 2008 Neil Mackenzie
With theatrically astute French guest conductor Emmanuelle Joel-Hornak at the helm, Vector Wellington Orchestra rose to Puccini's requirements with admirable, meticulous, well-nourished support.
Copyright © 29 May 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand