After having done a backstage tour at the Met last year it was on my list to go and see a production.

Originally I was keen on seeing Tristan und Isolde because of the cast but wasn’t able to get a suitable ticket so I settled for La Boheme. Only after I booked the ticket I remembered that I had seen some of the stage already during my tour so I was very excited to actually be seeing it in action.

Already arriving at the Met is an experience – and I have to say that there is much more of a dress code going than what I have seen in London recently.

From curtains up for the first act you knew you were in for a treat. The cast were just so good! Having been to a lot of concerts over the last few years I have forgotten a little how important the acting skills of an opera singer have to be! The second act, at the Café Momus was just so mesmerising – sitting up on the Balcony I felt like I really was in the French Quarter looking down on what was going on. Full forces were about, including a donkey and a horse, creating such a great atmosphere where you wanted to join in yourself!

The set of the third act was just as beautiful though in a different way. The scene was playing in winter and you just wanted to take your coat out and wrap it around because just looking at it you felt half frozen… of course this scene – especially in this setting – is quite a dramatic point in the opera and lots of emotions are on display.

Needless to say that the last scene, which brought us back to the apartment was just as emotionally stirring!

The singers, without fail, were sublime! The story telling was extraordinary and it made the opera very accessible.

One of the major differences to opera experience in Germany and the UK is the audience and it’s attitude to clapping. I am one of those anti clapping in between movements. Well the Met audience took it to a whole new level! After every single major aria there was rupturous applause! You could see the singers holding their poses waiting to carry on with the flow – it was irritating and stopped the whole flow of the story telling. You could tell that the orchestra was used to it as they didn’t carry on playing. Another interesting observation was that they had two intervals – guess the bars can make more money… the first and second act were right after each other, then 20mins interval, the 3rd act which was only 30mins, then another 20mins interval before the 4th act of 25mins resumed… especially considering the opera only started at 8pm this meant the performance finished at 11pm… and then the audience didn’t even let the orchestra finish their last notes as they were starting to applaud bars before the actual end – guess they were running late for the post theatre dinner…

Regardless of these little niggles it was a very enjoyable first experience at the Met

Cast:

David Bizic – Marcello

Dmytro Popov – Rodolfo

Ryan Speedo Green – Colline

Rodion Pogossov – Schaunard

Philp Cokorinos – Benoit/ Alcindoro

Ailyn Perez – Mimi

Daniel Clark Smith – Parpignol

Susanna Phillips – Musetta

Carlo Rizzi – Conductor

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