La Boheme returned to St Mary In The Castle last Saturday with new principle singers. The difference it made demonstrated both the strength of Jenny Miller’s production and the impact of the singers themselves. American tenor, Andrew McGowan, was a youthful, naïve and impetuous Rudolfo. There were no problems at the top of the voice and he brought a heady romanticism to his wooing of Mimi. For once the on-off relationship made perfect sense, and his desolation at her death was truly moving.
Lucy Ashton, who sang Pamina for us last year in Opera South East’s production of The Magic Flute, was outstanding as Mimi. Her openness of manner and honest emotions caught the complexity of Mimi’s character, and her singing throughout was finely focused and moving.
The rest of the cast may have been familiar from the earlier performance with Oscar Castellino a fine Marcello and the instrumental ensemble splendidly well balanced. Barefoot Opera return in November with a new production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. By Brian Hick.