Anyone Else Looking Forward to La Boheme?

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by derek500, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. derek500

    derek500
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    Next Monday Sky Arts are broadcasting Jonathan Miller's production of Puccini's La Boheme live from the Coliseum in London.

    In a novel move, at the same time, Sky Arts 1 are covering the backstage action. Should be very interesting.

    Before Christmas they broadcast Franco Zefirelli's production from the Met in New York. It was excellent and in the intervals they went backstage to show how the sets were changed etc.

    I had a look on the internet and 'best seats' were $350!! It's great that Sky HD bring such great spectacles to us in HD.

    No ad breaks either.
     
  2. derek500

    derek500
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    Cancelled due to the bad weather in London. They're hoping to do it on Wednesday now.
     
  3. HDCriticalFan

    HDCriticalFan
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    I'll give it a go ... although I don't quite understand how you are supposed to watch two channels at the same time (or, more importantly, why ?!).

    I don't see the point of going "behind to scenes" in order to shatter the carefully assembled illusion of a staged work. It smacks of the impact of reality TV culture.

    I rate Alfie Boe quite highly and Boheme is one of my (and pretty much everyone's !) favourite operas ... although I dread to think what it is going to sound like sung in English :eek:(




    Regards
     
  4. derek500

    derek500
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    It's pretty good actually. They have the opera PIP. Shame it's not in HD.

    The opera itself is very nice PQ on Arts HD and DD5.1 as well.

    I'm tending to watch the backstage stuff and I'll catch the opera when it's repeated next week.
     
  5. HDCriticalFan

    HDCriticalFan
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    It was excellent.

    I watched the backstage show "live" until 9pm (when a dual recording clash crept up on me). I've recorded the rest on my spare Sky+ (I'll watch it tonight). I'll have a look at the actual performance when it is on again (Sunday night).

    Rather than "spoil" the magic of a performed opera it actually raised it in my estimation. So many people to be co-ordinated !

    You've got to hand it to that guy in the "mixing desk" - how cool was he !??

    And top marks to Parpignol too !

    I was astonished at how many people seemed to be milling about and able to talk in the wings during the performance.

    I'd love to see this sort of thing again - preferably from THE Opera House in Covent Garden ... with an opera in it's proper language !




    Regards
     
  6. derek500

    derek500
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    They're repeating the 'backstage' show as part of an opera weekend at Easter. Chances are it will be upscaled on Sky Arts HD.

    I was amazed how Penny Smith was interviewing the cast within seconds of them going on stage.

    This is the sort of stuff that PSBs like the BBC should be doing. I've got to hand it to Sky Arts, they did an excellent job and of course a 2 3/4 hour programme with no ad breaks.

    I looked at the BARB figures for the La Boheme from the Met in December, it had 2000 viewers!!
     
  7. HDCriticalFan

    HDCriticalFan
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    I second all of your points.

    However, whilst I may give it a glance, I don't think I will be re-watching "Backstage" just because it is upscaled. It was exciting live, but I've seen it now.

    I too was astonished at the latitude Penny was given to butonhole people literally SECONDS before they perfomed.

    I was also even more impressed with singers who were delivering an emotional performance in (for instance) the death scene whilst they MUST have been aware of the hubbub in the wings as people were gathering for the curtain calls. This is a level of distraction which I couldn't handle as a mere viewer of opera ... let alone perfomer !


    As a lover of Italian opera (in Italian), I couldn't help but notice that more than one interviewee accidentally made Italian references when discussing the opera. I'm sure that "Che Gelida Manina" and "O Suave Fancuilla" were mentioned and I distinctly recall JM mention the "e spirata" moment at the death.



    Regards
     
  8. HDCriticalFan

    HDCriticalFan
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    Sorry, I know it must be rude to reply to myself, but I have now seen the actual opera in HD.

    It was immensely enjoyable (but that's Puccini for you). It was nice that it was in HD, but as has often been mentioned here before, low internal lighting is not the best source material for HD.

    Most notable for me was the sound. I could see that the singers had been mic'ed up with those cotton bud mikes hidden in their hair. Clearly that allowed the mixers to place the singers wherever they wanted in the soundstage.

    Unfortunately they put Marcello considerably to the left of Rodolfo at the begining of Act I, when they were clearly the other way around on the stage !

    They also had a tendency to spread the singers out across the front speakers as you would expect from an audio CD. This made the sound from the singers appear to come from a location actually outside of the screen - not good. I reckon they should use FL and FR for the orchestra, with a nice spread. They should keep the singers on the centre channel, or mixed evenly between FL and FR. Off-stage sound effects can then be directed to either left or right as appropriate.

    Act III had a similar problem with singer placement, plus the duel between Marcello and Musetta seemed much too loud compared to the central duet between Rodolfo and Mimi.

    Alfie Boe lived up to my expectations, he sounded very pleasant. I didn't find him terribly exciting though - I've seen reviews which say he wasn't powerful enough, that would probably account for it (I'm a Domingo man myself).


    Overall it was an excellent effort. Well done Sky Arts, please don't wait too long before doing it again. Turandot at the Garden ?


    To quote (badly) from Frasier :-

    Frasier : An excellent cultural evening marred only by that one tiny but irritating fault.
    Daphne : Ah, just the way you like it !
     

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