Ellen Kent productions told this tragic love story well, although the sets were flimsy and rather cramped.
Mimi (most beautifully sung by Elena Dee) was properly the centre of attention, rather than the pranks of the men. The lovers’ separation in Act Three was truly chilling. Andriy Kalyuzhniy gave Colline’s often sentimental ‘overcoat’ aria real, quiet sadness. As Musetta (Maria Tsonina) prayed to the Virgin, she was poignantly upstaged by Schaunard (fine young baritone Volodymir Kozlov) silently taking Mimi’s dead hand. By then, all the joking had stopped.
Puccini is very well served by Gheorghe Stanciu’s fine and responsive orchestra.
Theatre Royal Brighton, 26 March 2012