Bohème in NY Times

Music in Review
Chorus members in 19th-century Parisian garb greet you on arrival at the Connelly Theater for Puccini’s ”Bohème.” Home-baked snacks are on sale in the lobby. Patrons of the Amato Opera, the scrappy, beloved company that mounted homegrown opera in New York for six decades before closing in June, surely feel right at home at the inaugural presentation by the Amore Opera, a new company established by Amato veterans.
The basics of the production, last seen at the Amato in April, are mostly unchanged, though a slightly larger house prompted adjustments. The Connelly stage is seven feet wider than the Amato’s, a difference most noticeable in the bustling Café Momus scene of Act 2. Throughout, the director, Nathan Hull, maintains the best of Anthony Amato’s original vision, while making savvy use of new resources.
Paige Cutrona and John William Gomez were a passionate, vocally striking and handsomely matched Mimi and Rodolfo on Friday night. Greg Kass brought a solid sound and rubbery comic flair to Marcello; Mia Riker-Norrie played Musetta with sterling control and brassiness worthy of Ethel Merman. Secondary characters were capably managed; choruses of adults and children did solid work.
The orchestra, expanded from the Amato’s handful to a chamber ensemble with six string players and double winds, sounded less than settled in its initial outing. But Richard Owen, the music director, generally kept the performance on track and accompanied the singers with sympathy and insight.

Published: December 15, 2009
PHOTO: A scene from ”La Bohème” with, from left, Alan Gorden Smulen, Jason Thoms, Greg Kass and John William Gomez. (PHOTOGRAPH BY JENNIFER TAYLOR FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)
Amore Opera

Connelly Theater
220 East Fourth Street,
East Village
(888) 811-4111,
Through Jan. 3 (with different casts)

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