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Subject: Re: another Boheme
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:35:39 -0500

text/plain (54 lines)

Trish Callis wrote:  

"In my experience the lines after Musetta’s aria (“Marcello!”  “Sirena!”) are 
always covered by applause, and I have always wondered whether Puccini 
intended them as throwaway or expected everyone to freeze."

The libretto states: "Si abbracciano appassionatamente" (They embrace 
passionately), and I somehow sense the showman Puccini KNEW that would
would bring down the house.  

Boheme has become one of those operas I don’t want to hear or see 
anymore . . . until I hear or see it then wonder “why did I feel that way?”  

I’ve performed Boheme literally more times than I can remember (due in 
large part to a touring production of it) be it in the chorus, as Parpignol, a 
cover for Rodolfo, an Act III guard or a rehearsal pianist.  

When I was with Chattanooga Opera (where, 25 years before, a 24 year 
old Sills made her debut as Donna Elvira) in the beautiful Tivoli Theatre, we 
had a lovely production of Boheme pairing a Marcello whose name escapes 
me but was some six foot-six inches tall and an adorable Musetta in the not 
quite 5 foot frame of coloratura Paula Siebel.  

At one of the student performances (the company presented its two full 
dress rehearsals bussing in kids from local elementary and high schools) 
that famous    “Marcello!  “Sirena!” moment found our tiny Musetta running
across the full width of the stage leaping as high as she could, Marcello
catching her midair with a kiss and “FREEZE”– causing the students to turn 
the house upside down with cheers, whistles, applause and screaming!  

The cast ate it up, and Marcello broke the fourth wall, looked at the kids 
with a look that asked “Again?” and they roared even louder.  As a 
chorister, I was not needed right then, so ran up into the balcony to sit 
with the kids and following the 2nd go at it, it was the conductor’s turn, 
who literally turned around and asked aloud “Once more?” and the roars 
continued – as finally, after that moment, did the scene.  Truly one of the 
most joyous moments I’ve ever experienced in an opera house.  The 
combination of a classic traditional production, an exciting, beautiful young 
cast and 1,000 kids enjoying their first opera.  


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