One of my favourite things to do of an evening is to take a little trip to the Royal Opera House and sit captivated for a couple of hours watching some incredible performances.
This year I have already been lucky enough to see the ballet adaptation of Pushkin's verse-novel Eugene Ongin. Even though the ballet itself was not as strong as others I have seen at the Opera House the atmosphere there is always unbeatable and the music was fantastic.
So when a friend had a spare ticket to La Bohème I jumped at the opportunity.
Being a little short of cash these days we are constantly keeping an eye on the website where it is possible to get incredibly good value tickets. The ones for this were only £5. Admittedly they were firmly in the nose-bleed seats but even from such great heights you can still see almost half of the action and of course you can hear the singers and have a fantastic view of the orchestra.
La bohème is a four act opera in Italian written by Puccini and based upon the popular novel of Henri Muger. But don't panic if your Italian isn't fluent everything is clearly subtitled. As I am currently teaching myself Italian (slowly I might add) I enjoyed trying to catch words and sentences here and there.
The plot revolves around 4 bohemian men and their loves Mimi and Muretta. There is a strong note of humour in the first two act although this morphs to tragedy in the final two. The final act had tears welling in my eyes, despite the fact that I could not see the main focus of the action.
The set design was beautiful and was carefully researched by Julia Trevelyan Oman who based it upon Parisian life from the mid 19th century. The second act shows the characters meeting to enjoy an evening at Café Momus. The Café set which included two storeys is shown on the right of the stage while we have a view into the bustling Parisian streets on the left. It sets up the atmospheric conditions wonderfully with the cafe bathed in a warm orange light while the cold blue lighting of the outdoors scene creates a impression of a frosty winters day.
The singer who played Musetta was outstanding she had an incredible voice and hit exactly the right tone of amusing and serious depending upon the situation.
I think that my favorite line had to be 'E come vivo? Vivo!' or 'How do I live. I Live!' and I hope to take this thought forwards into march with me.
For more information about the plot which I didn't want to give away in too much detail click here.
And get scanning the Royal Opera House website for some cheap tickets to this or any other Opera or Ballet.