“He was actually violent - and in front of my family, and his family
also. I lived through that. It’s the most black page of my life. I said
for years that I cannot believe it, it will be fine – you say that all
the time. But it’s like a malady. Even if you are the most angry person,
to stand and give a clap [sic] on your wife, it’s impossible – and to do this
in front of your father and your brother and they say not a word? This
is my life.”
Pelly's cosy Cath Kidston faux-50s perspective is not a patch on Jonathan Miller's edgier ENO production for wit, warmth and vitality. And what Pelly hasn't sucked out, Bruno Campanella's connoisseurly savouring of every last note drained down to the dregs. Luckily, this is the best cast it's had so far, and the superb individual performances make it a show worth seeing.
The second of the two shows celebrating the 20th anniversary of Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu's first encounter was more musically accomplished than the first. And the curtains worked. But we were never allowed to forget why we were there. Like the first, the evening had the air of a football testimonial - two sides, singers and orchestra, battling it out for the greater glory of the stars.
Last night marked 20 years since Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna first clapped eyes on each other in some obscure crevice of the Royal Opera House.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, a fount of scurrilous gossip and hilarious candids ever since, Covent Garden have mounted two special performances of La bohème, the John Copley production that is even older than the famed couple's relationship. This was the first.