At 50 years old, I finally lost my “V” last night…… I lost it to the Palm Beach Opera! I was an opera virgin, afraid of not understanding, thinking it would be too high-brow, excuse after excuse….. I kept my “V” firmly in tact….. until last night!
Today I wake up a new man…. an Opera lover!
My friend is Director of Communications for Palm Beach Opera and she challenged me to give it a shot. She promised I would know what was going on and the perfect place to begin would be the Palm Beach Opera’s Season Opener…. Puccini’s, La Boheme.
With tickets in hand, I made my way to the beautiful Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and took my seat in a packed house on opening night.
From the moment the orchestra hit the first note, I was taken away. Magnificent scenery takes your imagination into a land of youth, joy, love and humor.
Who knew opera was funny? Well I do now, as the attendee doesn’t need to understand some “opera language” but is guided through the production word for word with translations projected above the scene. (Ok, here’s another sad truth…..I don’t like translations because I am not a quick reader, but THIS WORKS, I didn’t get lost once and reading only enhanced the beautiful music and often hilarious dialogue.)
Under the direction of Deniele Callegari, the orchestra is magnificent, hitting every note with purpose. The staging, as previously stated is massive and beautiful and the costuming spot on, with cast members of all ages, this production is huge and Palm Beach Opera knocks it out of the park!
A core group of performers take the audience on an adventure of hilarity, love, hate and in the end despair. Two hours of soaring melodies and shared lyrics is the perfect way to spend an evening.
Production stand-outs include Ellie Dehn in the role of Musetta, comic relief reminiscent of Oklahoma’s Ado Annie, and Marcello, the love-sick artist who finds his true love and purpose by the final curtain.
With all the magnificence of La Boheme, the stars of the show are delightfully portrayed by Dimitri Pittas in the role of Rodolfo and Keri Alkema as Mimi.
The love and passion of this couple’s romance captivated the stage. Their performance was masterful and cemented their place on the stage whether it was just the two or surrounded by a cast of 50, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Pittas and Alkema.
As the show builds towards its ultimate conclusion, I was on the edge of my seat, a final scene that was as beautiful as anything I have ever witnessed on stage, as the curtain fell I couldn’t help but wipe a tear and wish for more.
I’m an opera fan now and encourage anyone who is apprehensive to give it a try, I bet you will quickly become a convert as well.
Palm Beach Opera has a full season ahead featuring its first ever World Premiere “Enemies, A Love Story” in February.
La Boheme continues through January 18th. Get your tickets NOW, the production should be seen by Opera snobs and Opera virgins alike! (561) 833-7888 or PBOpera.org