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March, 2003
Review: La Boheme - Oxford Playhouse
La Boheme
Adam Smyth, Kiri Parker and Jordan Bell in the student production of La Boheme.

Sheldon Barwick was absorbed by the student action of La Boheme at
the Oxford Playhouse.


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By Sheldon Barwick

This production of La Boheme is Oxford City Opera’s first fully-staged production.

Merle Fairhurst as Mimi in
Merle Fairhurst as Mimi in La Boheme.

The company is striving to revive a tradition of staging opera in the city and if this first production is anything to go by, it should be very successful.

From the moment the cast came on stage there was no sense of opening-night nerves with great performances from the offing.

The sets, while not greatly complicated, were very effective and extremely well lit. All the cast handled their parts impeccably – from the comic in the opening scene to the tragic in the ending (but I won’t tell you what happens!

This was all handled by a very capable musical director. The only small flaw was some nervousness in the orchestra, but this did not detract from the performance.

Equally good was the stage direction. The characters really pulled you in and you connected with them all. The performance is also subtitled.

I had not been to a performance with subtitling before and I found it really useful and, once I was used to it, found it didn’t intrude at all into the performance.

The roles of Marcello, Mimi and Musetta are shared between two performers each and I am sure that the performers I did not see tonight will fill the roles just as well.

The production was very good, and hopefully will provide a stepping-stone to even better things in the future. Oxford City Opera is definitely a company to watch.

Another production of La Boheme is playing at the Oxford Apollo.

March 20 - 21
Time: 19:30;
Tickets: £13 - £39

Click here for Oxford Apollo details

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