Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Opera Stages Attractive, Pleasing 'La Boheme'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Opera Stages Attractive, Pleasing 'La Boheme'

Article excerpt

Tenor Eric Barry was already going to play Rodolfo in one mainstage and one student performance of the Pittsburgh Opera production of Puccini's "La Boheme," running at the Benedum Center through Sunday.

But when first-string tenor David Lomeli withdrew for undisclosed reasons, Mr. Barry was tasked with three additional performances, including opening night on Saturday.

Having already been scheduled for two shows would be beneficial to anyone asked to fill in for such a large role. But Mr. Barry deserves kudos for a solid, if not particularly revelatory, performance. It paralleled the production's overall impact: While its singing and staging didn't plumb the opera's full emotional depths, the production didn't float on the surface either.

"La Boheme" provided an early opportunity for Mr. Barry to show off his pipes in "Che gelida manina," when the poet declares his love for Mimi (Leah Crocetto, making her debuts both with Pittsburgh Opera and as Mimi). The tenor demonstrated a warm, bright tone and consistent, albeit safe, voice. The sentiment of the aria was filled out by the orchestra and by the singer's strong high C.

Elsewhere in the first act, Mr. Barry developed a convincingly fraternal rapport with his buddies, Marcello (Troy Cook), Colline (Pittsburgh Opera resident artist Phillip Gay) and Schaunard (Dimitrie Lazich). Ro-dolfo's connection with Mimi was not immediately compelling, although it got better in later interactions.

As Mimi, Ms. Crocetto had a plump, full tone in "Mi chiamano Mimi," even if it was inconsistent. She had the strongest vocal projection in the cast, overpowering Mr. Barry in the end of the opening act but also exposing some intonation problems.

Still, Ms. Crocetto's performance was successful, and it improved as the evening went on; her depiction of Mimi's suffering became more persuasive and her voice more reliable. …

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