San Diego Opera's 2010 season opened on many high notes with a good performance of Puccini's La Bohème on Saturday.

The tuneful show featured Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo. After taking a little while to adjust to the sound-deadening acoustics of the nearly sold out Civic Theater, he breezed through the evening in well-controlled voice and impeccable musicianship. His high notes rang so well that no one can take offense that he took the Act I-ending high C along with his Mimi.

Sweet voiced Ellie Dehn made a solid debut as Mimi, showing off some effective soft singing in the climactic Act IV, though her lower passages were under-projected. Jeff Mattsey was a winning and fresh Marcello who could blend his strong voice in ensemble while acting convincingly at home with everyone he shared the stage with.

Once you get past the ingrained tremolo in her voice, hometown favorite Priti Gandhi proved a theatrically apt Musetta. She had the audience laughing at all the appropriate moments in her big aria, “Quando m'en vo.” The orchestra played enthusiastically under Maestro Karen Keltner, though the players occasionally covered the singers too much.

  • Concert: Puccini's La Boheme
  • Show date: January 30
  • Venue: Civic Theater
  • Seats: Orchestra G 50

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