For the first time in its long history, the Salzburg Festival performs Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème in the Great Festival Hall, offering a unique and rare music highlight.
Anna Netrebko wins acclaim yet again in the lead role, giving a "deeply melancholic reading of Mimi", according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "Netrebko's lush voice, perfect intonation, masterful control and passionate interpretations are always a treat," writes the San Francisco Chronicle. Completing the dream couple she has Piotr Beczala at her side, whose rock-solid tenor voice keeps you with him at every turn. "Empathetic" according to Die Presse, "a heroically elegant partner for the soprano" wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The protagonists are supported by a cheeky Nino Machaidze as Musetta and a strong male ensemble headed up by a resourceful Alessio Arduini, who won acclaim for his "concise baritone" (Die Welt). Daniele Gatti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic ensured "shimmering transparency of sound ... and Italian style" (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and "reveals the orchestral sound, bringing the tone colours to full glow" wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung enthusiastically. "Under his baton, members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra delivered a masterful interpretation of Puccini's rich score," was the verdict of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The promising Italian director Damiano Michieletto achieves a great Salzburg debut with his modern, anti-consumerist reinterpretation of Puccini's gem. The striking staging gives a moving impression of the loneliness of characters in the Paris artistic world of today. Accentuated by Paolo Fantin's surrealistic scenery, this production cannot fail to affect its audience.