A below-average Bohème in Valladolid

G. Puccini, La Bohème: Soloists, Orquesta Teatro Calderón, Coro Amigos Teatro Calderón/Intermezzo. Conductor: Pietro Rizzo. Teatro Calderón de Valladolid. 9.5.2011 (JMI)

Coproduction Palacio Festivales de Cantabria and Gran Teatro de Córdoba.
Direction: José Luis Castro
Sets: Giuliano Spinelli
Costumes: Irene Monti
Lighting: Vinicio Cheli.


Mimí: Inva Mula
Rodolfo: Ricardo Bernal
Marcello: Gabriel Bermúdez
Musetta: María Hinojosa
Colline: Rubén Amoretti
Schaunard: José Manuel Díaz

Inva Mula as Mimì - Picture © Gerardo Sanz

The Teatro Calderón offers the well known production by José Luis Castro which I reviewed in 2009 both in Santander and Pamplona http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandh/2009/jan-jun09/boheme0403.htm . I will only add that the continued need for three intervals remains a major handicap.

The greatest surprise of this performance was to read in the program that in the pit we had the so called Orquesta Teatro Calderón which was certainly news to me. I found out later that this orchestra is a group of musicians recruited in Mannheim. Obviously however, and rather sadly too, a proper orchestra is rather more than just a cluster of musicians and this fact was evident during the whole performance. On the podium Pietro Rizzo offered a purely routine reading, something less than difficult to understand in the circumstances.

The Albanian soprano Inva Mula singing Mimì was the big attraction of this Bohème. Her voice has never been large in size, but here it seemed so when compared with her colleagues. Her Mimì was rather short of emotion, which is perhaps the most important aspect of this character and as I wrote about Ms Mula’s Nedda at the Liceu last month, the top of the voice is not as rich as before.

The Mexican tenor Ricardo Bernal made a weak Rodolfo. His tenor is several sizes smaller than what it is required and he was almost inaudible some of the time. His performing skills on stage are not outstanding either.

Something of the kind could also be said of Gabriel Bermúdez as Marcello. His baritone is certainly attractive, but really is too small for the role. By contrast Maria Hinojosa has no problems with her soprano, but her Musetta was still less than wonderful. The top notes are shrill in forte and her pitch is not always perfect. Rubén Amoretti was an acceptable Colline. In this company José Manuel Diaz’s singing as Schaunard seemed to be coming from a different. Unfortunately, quantity and quality are by no means the same thing.

The Teatro Calderón was some 90% full. The audience gave no more than a tepid reception to the artists.

José Ma. Irurzun