by Robert Rollin
Last Friday night Opera Western Reserve presented Puccini’s La Bohème in a beautiful Stambaugh Auditorium production, replete with excellent singing, fine dramatic pacing and superlative orchestral accompaniment. Music director Susan Davenny Wyner’s effective conducting, and director/scenic designer David Vosbergh’s attractive sets and lively staging contributed greatly. Now in its tenth year, the company continued to wisely schedule only one performance annually, ensuring houses bursting at the seams. The Friday performance was no different.
Soprano Marian Vogel, who sang the title role in OWR’s 2011 production of Tosca, was terrific as the tragic seamstress Mimi. Tenor Alex Richardson, who sang Cavaradossi in the aforementioned production, returned as the intense poet Rodolfo, expertly tossing off the difficult role.
Soprano Lauren Frey, as Musetta, the sophisticated woman of the world, paired with baritone Michael Young, as Marcello, the painter. Both sang brilliantly, with Frey negotiating the intricacies of her bel canto role with sparkling ease, while Young enlivened the performance with his lovely vocal color. [Read more…]