Review: Fabulous Vocal Performances in Marble City Opera’s ‘La Femme Bohème’

Marble City Opera’s latest production, La Femme Bohème, opened this past weekend at the Old City’s NV Nightclub in its continuing survey of refreshing out-of-the-ordinary venues — and with its continuing penchant for fabulous, knock-your-socks-off vocal performances. [It continues on Saturday this week at 7:30 p.m.]

The work, of course, is Puccini’s La Bohème performed with an all-female cast—a concept that opens the door on an entirely different perspective on the classic story, not to mention offering several flavors of audience fantasy. The key here: this cast was vocally fabulous from top to bottom.

Singing the two romantic leads of Rodolfo and the consumptive Mimi were Linda Barnett and Jenny Beauregard, respectively. While both singers are clearly familiar with the role of Mimi, I must single out Barnett for taking on what is essentially a new role for her, the tenor role of Rodolfo in the soprano range, and singing it with perfection.

The amazingly strong cast followed with Sarah Klopfenstein as Marcello, Caitlin Bolden as Colline, Ellen Hinkle as Schaunard, Kathryn Frady as Musetta, and Julie Belanger Roy in the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro. Melanie Burbules, Ryan Colbert, Alex Engle, and Maxwell Porterfield took the other secondary roles and the chorus. The production was directed by Vincent Connor with the chamber ensemble conducted by Peter Leonard.

Fair warning: For those who may be thinking that the minimal production and nightclub setting will render them immune from emotion in the final scene, a tear in my usually hardened eye proved otherwise.

La Femme Bohème repeats this Saturday night, 7:30 p.m., at NV Nightclub in the Old City. Chelsea Beatty will be singing the role of Rodlofo for this performance.