Opera Now: Music:★★★★★ Staging:★★★★★
”This is opera at its finest’
“Northern Ireland Opera comes back to life with Puccini… this is an admirably atmospheric and lively show, updated to the 1920s and staged by NI Opera’s new artistic director Cameron Menzies.” Read full review here
The Irish Times ★★★★
‘La bohème: Well-paced and rewarding night at the opera’ Read full review here
Seen and Heard International
‘Noah Stewart, gave a dramatically convincing portrayal of the love-struck Rodolfo… soprano Gemma Summerfield gave an assured performance in the role of Mimì perfectly capturing the alluring and frail qualities of the character in equal measure… Rebecca Lang and her reduced band of instrumentalists did an excellent job bringing Puccini’s wonderful score to life. Lang’s tempi seemed spot on to me and I was struck by her eye to detail. The shifting moods of the music were captured well and the emotional set piece numbers were powerful without being overly sentimental.’ Read full review here
The Thin Air
‘A standing ovation greets the cast and NI Opera’s creative team. It has been an outstanding ensemble production, with Stewart and Summerfield in the lead roles giving towering performances of emotive heft. In years to come, NI opera’s staging of La Bohème will surely rank as one of the company’s greatest achievements, for reasons both musical and non-musical. Pandemics may come and go, but young love – and great opera – will never go out of fashion.’ Read full review here
‘In The Studio’: BBC World Service – find out from Cameron Menzies and members of the creative team what it took to bring La Bohème to life in the Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast via this link from 28th September.
Watch conductor Rebecca Lang and ‘Rodolfo’ Noah Stewart talking to Pamela Ballantine on UTV Life about the production via this link (not available in all territories).
Download the programme here.
Northern Ireland Opera announces the return of live opera performances with a unique and exhilarating new production of Puccini’s La Bohème this September. The staging of one of the most loved and timeless masterpieces in the operatic canon marks Cameron Menzies’ first production in front of live audiences since he joined Northern Ireland Opera as Artistic Director midway through the pandemic in February this year.
This bold new interpretation will be brought to life inside the iconic Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast across four evenings. A historic focal point in the city, this beautifully decayed church provides the perfect atmospheric backdrop to tell the story about a group of Bohemians who are all searching and desperately trying to find their way in life and love.
Cameron says: “The themes of youthful hope, the pursuit of connection, love and the very real and human desire for relationships, paired with some of the most stunning composition in the history of opera, seems to be what our audiences need right now both in terms of relevance and potency.”
Of the venue Cameron adds: “We are so fortunate to be able to create this new socially-distanced production inside a building that has had a rather varied and bohemian existence of its own. I already feel that the power of the building and how it stands in its own slightly broken and faded beauty is the absolute perfect grasp to safely and lovingly hold this opera.”
La Bohème is part of a surprising and varied launch programme selected by Cameron for 2021/22 and will lead Northern Ireland Opera into an exciting new era under his artistic direction. Cameron’s award-winning career spans the worlds of opera, theatre, music theatre, cabaret and film-making.
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