La Boheme

Dublin - December 2016

Bord Gais Energy Theatre
"Bring tissues for this emotional production."
"The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow gives Puccini’s great tragic love story a super outing with major talent in the leads. Irish star Celine Byrne is sweetly powerful as Mimi. The effect of her singing the role as a dead person watching her life, whilst the role is occasionally mimed by an actress, has terrific theatrical power. Byrne is matched by tenor Aleksey Tatarintsev’s Rodolfo, both in acting and singing, who commands the stage and the air. Ekaterina Mironycheva as Musetta easily seduces both her former lover and the audience with her showgirly turn in the café scene. Only baritone Andrey Breus feels a little outclassed as the painter Marcello.
A super design job is done by Hartmut Schörghofer for director Georgy Isaakyan. A huge circle motif is put to brilliant use: as a clock; a view up the inside of the Eiffel Tower; a spiral staircase and a sky view. There is much play with perspective, and vertical surfaces are disconcertingly treated as horizontal.
Early scenes have a 1940s feel, but the art gallery of the final act has a Saatchi eighties aesthetic, with the pseudo elements cranked up, and the orchestra cued by a popping champagne cork.
See-through plastic sculptures litter the former bohemian space; a mock swordfight is conducted with dinner forks. Vitally Evanov as the philosopher Colline establishes the necessary tragic tone with his superb overcoat aria as he pushes the emotional range of his bass voice.
The minimalist emptiness of the gallery setting provides a highly effective canvas for the final tragic musical build-up. Bring hankies".

"There is much to admire and a lot to enjoy in The Novaya Opera Theatre’s production of La Bohème: excellent singing, a fine orchestra, a set and costume design that are breathtakingly beautiful. One of opera’s “greatest hits” with beautiful aria heaped upon beautiful duet, the piece is set in the Latin Quarter of Paris, teeming with artists and would-be writers and philosophers, all striving for artistic expression or intellectual recognition, all struggling to survive. Into this exciting, if impoverished, world of warm hearts and louche communal living walks the poor seamstress, Mimi, unfortunately seeking love, stability and commitment. She is in the wrong place".

"It needs to be emphasised, right from the outset, that both music and singing in The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow’s production of Puccini’s “La Boheme,” border on the sublime. Indeed, close your eyes and you are utterly transported....Isaakyan does an outstanding job. Chief conductor, Jan Latham-Koenig and his orchestra are utterly sensational, bringing warmth, depth and texture to Puccini’s sublime music. ....the night truly belonged to sopranos Ekaterina Mironycheva, who as the vixen Musetta was a scene stealing delight, and Celine Byrne, as the deeply lonely, deeply loving Mimi. Performatively and vocally, both delivered outstanding performances, with Byrne’s solo’s being absolutely superb...A musically moving production".

La Boheme

Moscow - December 2015

The Novaja Opera Theatre
"The action takes place in 1940s Paris, with the atmosphere of a country still suffering from shock - and that's why the melodrama has such anguish, and the love of Rodolfo and Mimi, and Marcello and Musetta, is so passionate and emotional."
" ....marvellous choir and crowd scenes, with Santa Claus flying with balloons, and street musicians dressed like Napoleonic soldiers."

"All the cast sang well, but the four main characters comprised a quartet to decorate the most prestigious opera houses in the world."

"The graceful sets and imaginative lighting support the singing - which is very strong."

The Moscow State Opera

London Coliseum - July 2014

Moscow State Opera
"There is nothing about the Moscow State Opera’s production that would not win widespread and profound admiration – as it clearly does at The London Coliseum."

The Nutcracker

Bord Gais Energy Theatre - November 2013

Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet
"This presentation pulled together the best of everything: superb dancers, expansive choreography, atmospheric staging, and enchanting costumes and set design - to present perhaps the loveliest Nutcracker I've ever seen."

Romeo and Juliet

Bord Gais Energy Theatre - November 2013

Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet
"Irish audiences have hit the jackpot with the Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet performing Sir Kenneth Mac Millan's Romeo and Juliet.The couple's entire surrounding reflects beauty and harmony... stunning scenery remains true to the ballet's original Italianate influence... The grandiose music and dancing match each other in the ultimate symbiotic relationship, which like Romeo and Juliet leaves the heart feeling empty once it's over."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Bord Gais Energy Theatre - November 2015

Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet
"There aren’t many of us who don’t know the tragic story of Romeo and his Juliet, but I’d wager there are quite a few of us Irish folk who have never had the pleasure of seeing their fate played out in the ballet, live, with the legendary compositions of Sergei Prokofiev as accompaniment.
The high-spec standards of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre have allowed for an influx of internationally acclaimed and technically complex shows to travel to Ireland more easily than ever before in recent years; and for this we must be grateful – for how better to see such a treasured story than in a performance by the much-lauded Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet?
We all know that Romeo & Juliet is an epic tale. And in ballet, it is transformed into a true spectacle. One doesn’t need dialogue with such a magnificent and recognisable score, so beautifully delivered by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrey Danilov); with such exquisite costume and set design; with such exceptional, expressive dancers – Natalia Domracheva’s Juliet is the epitome of elegance, while Ruslan Savdenov’s Romeo, Ivan Prooshin’s Tybalt and German Starikov’s Paris complement her grace with exquisitely refined strength. Although the run time stretches to almost 3 hours including intervals, for me, it flew by – so much action, movement and elegance onstage swept me along effortlessly. The joy, suspense and despair of this tragedy are all magnificently realised in a whirlwind of precision delivery and emotional intelligence from all performers.
If you haven’t seen a renowned ballet company before, trust me: this is worth a look. It is not everyday Dublin hosts one of Russia’s oldest and most distinguished ballet companies- catch them before they’re gone".


Bord Gais Energy Theatre - March 2013

Moscow State Opera
"The company’s clarity, diction and pacing of this musically testing piece was impressive and firmly united throughout."