The beautifully remodeled and acoustically improved Fairchild Theatre was a worthy setting, with a multi-level set of picturesque poverty against an artistic 1890's Parisian backdrop (Kirk Domer) with period costumes completing the picture (A.T. Jones, Inc.) The "super-titles" were projected high above. Thanks to them and the story printed in the program, the plot was clear, despite the Italian singing.
This is a well known "tragedy" - but is not without humor and fun. The MSU Children's Choir lent lovely voices and cheerful energy to the street-vendor scene. The four bohemian roommates' silly dance/celebration is funny, as are many of their other interchanges.
The leads were all excellent. These will also perform at 3 pm Sunday: Daniel Ewart was Marcello, Johnathan Reisen was Rudolfo, Nicholas Kreider was Colline, Jenna Washburn was Mimi, and Schyler Sheltrown was Musetta. On Saturday (8 pm) a second cast will take these roles.
I'm no "opera buff" and feared it would be long and incomprehensible -- but it is only the usual two hours (plus a 15 minute intermission) and easy to follow and appreciate. I'm not sure if you CAN get tickets to the ONLY TWO MORE performances (the web site says "sold out") but if you can, you won't be sorry; perhaps there is a waiting list.
$20 adults, $18 seniors, $5 for students, College of Music box office – (517) 353-5340 – online at music.msu.edu, or at the door one hour before the show.