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Your Reaction: La bohème in cinemas and on BP Big Screens 2015

What did you think of our live relay of John Copley's production of Puccini's tragic romance?

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

10 June 2015 at 11.50pm | 42 Comments

The production is given with generous philanthropic support from Alfiya and Timur Kuanyshev, Marina Hobson OBE and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund. Original Production (1974) supported by The Linbury Trust.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

10 June 2015 at 11.50pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged BP Big Screens, by John Copley, cinema, La bohème, Production, tweets, your reaction

This article has 42 comments

  1. Wendy McDowall responded on 11 June 2015 at 12:35am Reply

    Performance amazing, production superb, cast breathtaking and a truly wonderful evening. Sobbed at end too in tiny cinema packed with people in SW France

  2. Wendy McDowall responded on 11 June 2015 at 12:39am Reply

    Amazing, superb, breathtaking performance
    Thank you ROHboheme!

  3. Vanessa responded on 11 June 2015 at 12:40am Reply

    It was so very beautiful. Very similar to the Munich State Opera production, which I have seen dozens of times. Thank you for bringing opera to the people.

  4. Btina BeSt responded on 11 June 2015 at 5:59am Reply

    Watching #rohboheme in Nbg,Germany. My first time in Opera was amazing! JohnCopley is a really great director! Such a great pleasure to enjoy the Last run from LaBoheme by John Copley. Many thanks Covent Garden!!!

  5. Simone Camilleri responded on 11 June 2015 at 6:12am Reply

    What a shame this production is to be archived! What a fabulous, flawless night it was. Bravi, bravi to all the singers, conductor, orchestra and choir. Who says that opera is dead?

  6. Charles VINTCENT responded on 11 June 2015 at 7:42am Reply

    I love opera, and Covent Garden has always been a world leader in producing high standards of quality and performance. I saw La Boheme in the cinema at NIORT, Deux Sevres, France last night. If it had not been for the genius of the leading performers, the whole production would have been an absolute disaster. The sound was appalling.
    Neither Copley or Wark were audible, and they sounded as if they were talking in a fog. Whilst the music was almost consistently clear during the performance, very often the words coming from the performers were very difficult to hear. If it had not been for the smallness of the auditorium, a significant part of the performance would have been unintelligible. If I had not been many times to Covent Garden I should have wondered how anyone sitting at the back of the theatre could have heard the libretto.
    This reflects badly on the ROH.
    Surely in this day and age you can organise microphones that work.
    Why are you prepared to accept such lousy technical sound production?
    Very disappointing.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 11 June 2015 at 1:15pm

      Dear Charles

      Thank you for your feedback, which I have passed on to the Film and Broadcast team so that they can explore the reasons for the sound problems you experienced.

      Best wishes


  7. Mike Potter responded on 11 June 2015 at 9:23am Reply

    My eyes overflowed three times. Deeply moving performance, Mimi was mesmerising and I'm totally in love with Anna Netrebko now. This was as good as the Jussi Bjorling and Victoria de Los Angeles version. Stunning, thank you, the entire cast.

  8. John responded on 11 June 2015 at 9:24am Reply

    Glorious singing from Netrebko last night and a wonderful show all-round. What a treat to hear a really good La Boheme! Congratulations too to Jennifer Rowley, who was the best Musetta I've ever seen.

  9. Antoinette Walenberg responded on 11 June 2015 at 9:25am Reply

    In Amersfoort, The Netherlands, we watched this extraordinary, moving opera. EXELLENT!!

  10. Pat Apps responded on 11 June 2015 at 10:10am Reply

    A superb performance from all involved and excellent characterisation. Only 1 problem in Beckenham Odeon we lost the picture for the last few minutes although we retained the sound. This was very disappointing. I don't see why such a wonderful production has to end. How will future Boheme's compare? If it ain't broke why fix it!!

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 11 June 2015 at 1:13pm

      Dear Pat

      Sorry to hear about the interruption at the start of the performance - I will pass this on to our cinema team.

      Although we are very sad to lay the current production to rest we are excited to see how the internationally acclaimed director Richard Jones will tell the story.

      Best wishes


  11. I took my 11yo son to see the broadcast at our local cinema last night. Wonderful! He and I were both in floods of tears at the end.

    Aside 1: we also really enjoyed the extra material in the intervals - the discussion between John Copley and Joseph Calleja was particularly engaging.

    Aside 2: when I was young, living in Australia, I was given a paper Opera House set to build. It came with the sets and figures for a ballet production, and an opera production. It had never occurred to me until last night that the set that I played with all those years ago was a completely faithful reproduction of Copley's La Boheme production!

  12. Tamar responded on 11 June 2015 at 11:13am Reply

    It was disappointed that there was a technical problem with live streaming in Leeds Millenium square. We were all prepared and looking forward for it but after waiting for 30 minutes they told us they could not fix the problem. Glad other people enjoyed the opera.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 11 June 2015 at 1:08pm

      Very sorry to disappoint those hoping to watch in Leeds. A test run had worked well that afternoon but the problem has been identified and will be resolved ahead of Don Giovanni on 3 July - do join us then!

      Best wishes


  13. Elena responded on 11 June 2015 at 11:18am Reply

    Fabulous evening. Amazing singing and emotion from Joseph Calleja - hugely moving. Duets with Netrebko in Acts 3 and 4 were sublime. Such a shame that the orchestra often almost completely drowned out the singing of the performers playing Rodolfo's Bohemian friends. The introduction, interviews with the performers and John Copley, plus the behind the scenes views of the sets were a marvellous bonus.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 11 June 2015 at 1:06pm

      Thanks for your feedback Elena, I have passed it on to the Broadcast team.

      Best wishes


  14. Irm Pearce responded on 11 June 2015 at 11:44am Reply

    Fantastic experience! HOWEVER - and this is for the organizers of the global relay : The viewing of the interviews should be OPTIONAL (as in the MET showings). Intermission of 15 minutes is too short for snacks and drinks, first impressions, WC, etc., only to sit and watch interviews for another 15 minutes!!

  15. Kate Freemantle responded on 11 June 2015 at 1:10pm Reply

    Saw it at the Port Solent Odeon, Portsmouth last night. Can't fault the production or the singers, but alot of the atmosphere was ruined for us by a screening of Mad Max right next door - the noise and vibration was unbelievable! I did complain but was told they are limited which screen they can show live performances on. I suggested they tried to make sure in future the adjacent film was something quiet, but I rather fancy it fell on deaf ears. Is there anything the ROH can do?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 11 June 2015 at 1:23pm

      Dear Kate

      Very sorry about those problems. I've passed your comments to the cinema team and they will raise with the cinema.

      Best wishes


  16. Niall responded on 11 June 2015 at 2:08pm Reply

    Wow! Still reeling from the powerful performances, wonderful production and value for money.....I'm hooked and already booking up for others.....
    Thank you to all involved.

  17. Denis Ribeiro responded on 11 June 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

    A real nostalgic kick. Saw the live relay from the Royal Opera House last night at our local cinema. Possibly the best all-round performance of this beautiful and iconic production I have ever seen, and that includes the early days in the mid-70's with the likes of Domingo, Pavarotti, Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa, Ricciarelli and Ileana Cotrubas (after whom our daughter is named!) and later with Angela Ghiorghiu etc. Joseph Calleja was simply magnificent on all fronts, and in my opinion eclipsed the famous "Three Tenors" not only for beauty of voice and delivery, but for sheer credibility of character with an infinity of telling details in his conception of the part. Memorable if ironic that this was the final revival of this glorious production after 41 years. It will be a hard act to follow!

  18. Sara Finch responded on 11 June 2015 at 5:40pm Reply

    Absolutely spellbinding. Thank you ROH!

  19. Julian responded on 11 June 2015 at 5:54pm Reply

    Watched this in Reading last night having already seen it at Covent Garden a couple of weeks earlier. Wonderful on both occasions. The extra interviews and film in the intervals really made it worthwhile watching for a second time. I particularly liked the special touch of handing everyone a programme as we entered the screening. I had never seen this production before but now, having seen it twice so close together, I really don't feel it should close. It will be impossible to improve.

  20. Pat Lewis responded on 11 June 2015 at 6:11pm Reply

    Last nights performance was absolutely beautiful musically, though for the first time at a live broadcast of either opera or play, I felt that the balance between introductions, interviews, snippets, rehearsals and mutual backslapping detracted from the actual appreciation of the opera itself. This is the first Boheme which didn't move me to tears I didn't cry in after

    • Jeff Morgan responded on 12 June 2015 at 10:03am

      I agree about the back-slapping. Maybe it's because I can't stand Kirsty Walk, but I felt that the interview between Joseph Calleja and John Copley was better. Darcy Bussell does it so much better, but there again she could do anything better ........

  21. Kathryn Dodds responded on 11 June 2015 at 8:41pm Reply

    Wonderful production of La Boheme last night - the best I have seen and heard - despite intrusions from Mad Max next door!
    I agree with the comment about Joseph Calleja but all the leads were simply magnificent. What a privilege it was to witness such a magnificent performance. I was in Preston, Lancashire and at one with all those viewing all over Europe and beyond. Brava!

  22. Gerard de Waal responded on 12 June 2015 at 8:19am Reply

    We watched the excellent performance of La Bohème in a small theatre in Rotterdam.
    A very moving cast: the whole broadcasting was super-duper!
    Let’s have more of it.

    Gerard de waal

  23. Judy Phillips responded on 12 June 2015 at 12:48pm Reply

    What an amazing night of Opera. Have seen La Boheme several times but this performance was outstanding utterly moving and unforgettable and first time I've seen Opera streamed it won't be my last. Wonderful cast.I look forward to more. Seen at Cramlington Northumberland.

  24. Graeme Williams responded on 12 June 2015 at 2:06pm Reply

    My wife and I have attended a fair number of Cinema relays, mainly the Royal Ballet or RSC. We also get to the RB frequently and have often seen the production run at the ROH and at the cinema since each offers a different perspective.
    We probably wouldn't have attended La Boheme but we were given two tickets. for the Cinema Relay. We are so glad we went! It was breath taking. The performance was enhanced by the close up views and was totally absorbing. Mimi looked rather too healthy at her point of demise but we forgive her that given her amazing performance throughout.
    In this case I think we got more out of the performance in the broadcast than perhaps we may have done "live" and we are won over to see more opera. Brilliant!
    Keep the Cinema transmissions going - they are great entertainment and in no way "second best" - just a different way of seeing the production.

  25. Graeme Williams responded on 12 June 2015 at 2:09pm Reply

    I would also add (having just read other comments elsewhere) that the interviews with the performers and other snippets of information significantly added to our enjoyment!

  26. simon christie responded on 14 June 2015 at 6:55pm Reply

    I'm a 60 year old opera fan, and I've heard and seen a few recordings of Boheme in my time, all the greats, too many to mention. Saw this performance at the Vue Cinema, Staines, England, in my humble opinion it's one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. How about a DVD?

  27. Carlo Orsi responded on 15 June 2015 at 12:25am Reply

    What an absolutely brilliant production! What more can you say. Top class!

  28. Rosemary Wilkie responded on 16 June 2015 at 4:28pm Reply

    Superb! The best performance of La Boheme I have ever seen.
    But too much talking between acts.

  29. Peter responded on 17 June 2015 at 7:23am Reply

    The opera production was wonderful, and all the more intense for the closeups you never had when in a theatre. BUT the ROH television set up was maddening, and over hyped. Please damp down Kirsty Wark. By all means run interviews in the interval, when they are an option. But the 20 minute intro, pre curtain, means the cinema audience spends twenty minutes more in a not very comfortable seat. And they come to the start exhausted by all that busy marketing. Why not just see the ROH audience arriving and keep lights half dimmed? And the "scene change" package (unavoidable) was jarring and quite broke the dramatic and emotional journey. Puccini wouldnt have allowed it! Please dont try so hard - just help us audiences replicate the real opera experience.

  30. Philip W Thomas responded on 18 June 2015 at 9:34am Reply

    It beggars belief that John Copley's production of La Boheme is to be discontinued after forty is good for another forty years and is also a fitting tribute to the wonderful designer Julia Trevelyan Oman.

    I dread to think what the ROH will replace it with.

  31. In the world of theatre all my life I had not seen Boheme as a complete production. I was delighted with it all... my only nit pick was that the two female leads were wearing nail varnish... Mimi had the most lovely hands BUT they did not wear nail varnish in 1830??

  32. Moira Caton responded on 24 July 2015 at 5:25pm Reply

    I adored this production - besotted with the voices of Calleja and Netrebko and the performance of Musetta was correct - not too tarty but sufficiently cheeky with a great voice.
    Just would love to keep a souvenir of this - is it recorded for DVD for public to buy?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 30 July 2015 at 10:28am

      Hi Moira,

      No release date has been set - but if a release is confirmed, keep an eye on these pages.


      ROH Content Producer

  33. Joan Reed responded on 27 July 2015 at 2:30am Reply

    Thankfully I know what most of these voices sound like. The sound must have been wonderful in the opera house, but ours was often off. It was too soft or loud. It was as if in a fog and never a clear voice. I have heard some of yours and they have been fine and others have been not so good. The show itself was magnificent. I was also hoping to share this one in particular with my daughter by a DVD,but understand you are not planning on creating one. I hope you change your mind. I see these operas in The Dairy in Boulder, Colo.,USA.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 27 July 2015 at 10:13am

      Hi Joan,

      Sorry to hear your experienced sound issues during this performance. We'll get in contact with the cinema to find out what went wrong and ensure it's resolved for future screenings.


      ROH Content Producer

  34. Trev Lynes responded on 6 August 2015 at 10:11pm Reply

    I just hope this is released on DVD. I have seen many performances of La Boheme and this was right up there with the best. Netrebko is a real star and lights up the stage. All the cast were believable and excellent. Really acted well throughout.
    Brilliant !!

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