Le dirò con due parole:
Perhaps a few more words. I didn't mean to be a sappy cliché, I just wanted to see Antoinette's Mimi as soon as possible, so I booked for the next performance, which happened to be Valentine's Day. Even worse, I cried. But that wasn't the opera. It was Antoinette. She sang her first note through the door and — this is not artistic license — my jaw actually dropped. And I was a tearstained mess. I had crazily high expectations for her but evidently they weren't high enough. I don't know what else to say. She was incredible. How anyone could tear their eyes or ears from her I don't know, I certainly couldn't. Her "Si, mi chiamano Mimi" had me totally entranced. Early on, I thought — I want to get in as quick as I can with the rapturous applause once she's done. But by the time she finished I was hanging on her every note, oblivious to the world around, and it took somebody else's in-quick applause to bring me back to reality. That aria does not do that to me. I've seen three casts in this production and she's one of the few singers who have remembered that it's a contemporary setting and thus moved and behaved accordingly. No out of place nineteenth century gestures. And the woman can sing. She was sublime. This voice was as much a physical experience as an aural one, it enveloped me, saturated me. I'll remember this. Halfway through her aria, I had the terrifying thought that I might actually have to see it a third time. Were it cheaper, I probably would. I might anyway.
Except for a couple of drawbacks. One, it's Bohème, and I still don't like it. Two, Creepiest Rodolfo Ever. The most beautiful thing about his "Che gelida manina" was the back of Antoinette's head as he sang it to her. Otherwise it just looked like some kind of maniacal raving (Your tiny hand is frozen...in a jar in my underground laboratory). He seemed to have no concept of Rodolfo as a person; or if he did, a physical inability to express that personality. He was stiff, leering and totally charmless; his singing likewise, really. I found myself suddenly reconceiving the relationship — Mimi as the victim of a controlling, manipulative, nasty Rodolfo, who steals her key and has her trapped by the time she sings "Obbedisco, signor". It was more Bluebeard than Bohème. I wanted to stage an intervention to get her away from that man. It is to Antoinette's infinite credit that she responded so convincingly, with such gorgeousness and sincerity. She transcended him, and was believable enough for the both of them.
To my knowledge she's singing nothing else in Sydney this year. The sound you hear is my heart breaking.