Stars Greet Luhrmann Opera on Broadway
Australian director Baz Luhrmann, best known for last year's audacious "Moulin Rouge" on the big screen, presented his take on the Puccini opera "La Boheme," about bohemian artists, to the New York stage -- and the star-studded crowd roared its approval on opening night. Several critics did, too.
"I have no idea what to expect," Marcia Gay Harden, 43, Oscar winner for "Pollock," told the Associated Press as she arrived. "That's the amazing thing about his work -- expect the unexpected."
"I'm sure it'll be colorful, a real feast for the eyes," said John Turturro, 45.
During the first scene change, actress Rita Wilson, 44, said in an audible whisper, "This is extraordinary! They'll be talking about this for the next five years."
Luckily for Luhrmann, New York Times critic Ben Brantley liked it almost as much as Wilson.
"Luhrmann's 'Boheme,' which transports Puccini's 19th-century Parisians to 1957," he wrote, "turns out to be both the coolest and the warmest show in town, an enchanted mixture of self-conscious artistry and emotional richness. Opera purists should know that this production is no slice of wise-guy revisionism."
Out-of-towners chimed in with their reviews, too. Said The Washington Post: "Luhrmann ... set out to conquer Broadway with, of all things, a Puccini opera. And wouldn't you know, he's done it."
The Chicago Sun-Times, however, opined: "The visual delights of this production outweigh its aural pleasures, and the crucial emotional heat that comes with big operatic voices is lacking. This 'La Boheme' may be the equivalent of a good set of training wheels for the MTV-educated audience."