Aida Garifullina “brings the house down” in Royal Opera debut

Making her house debut on opening night, Aida Garifullina stole the show with her portrayal of Musetta in the Royal Opera House’s revival of Richard Jones’ La bohème last week.

Performing alongside Simona Mihai as Mimi, Charles Castronovo as Rodolfo and Andrzej Filonczyk as Marcello, Aida’s vocal abilities were lauded for their brightness, clarity and sweetness, while her “eye-catching” performance caused one reviewer to lament “that Puccini decided not to set the scene where Musetta is thrown out of her lodgings [from the original novel by Henri Murger, Scènes de la vie de bohème] and throws a party in the courtyard.” Read a selection of reviews below.

La bohème continues at ROH on Friday 17 January 2020, with Aida singing four further performances. Later this season, she will make her Bayersiche Staatsoper debut as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and return the Wiener Staatsoper for her role debut as Violetta Valéry in La traviata.

“The first night Musetta, Aida Garifullina, vocally bright and brilliant on house debut, shows she learns about life, moving from the good-time girl who stands on a restaurant table and removes her underwear in act two to a severely dressed adult in act four.” Martin Kettle for The Guardian

“Aida Garifullina made an auspicious house debut as a spirited Musetta, gamely removing her drawers during ‘Quando m’en vo’, but finding humane dignity over Mimi’s deathbed.” Rupert Christiansen for The Telegraph

“Aida Garifullina makes a fine, belated Covent Garden debut as Musetta, singing with distinction and poise even in a production that requires her to drop her knickers while delivering her waltz song. She and Andrzej Filonczyk’s embittered Marcello strike sparks off each other too.” Richard Morrison for The Times

“… spectacularly staged Café Momus in which Aida Garifullina’s Musetta quite rightly brings the house down.” George Hall for The Stage

“Garifullina, perhaps somewhat luxury casting as Musetta, played Jones’ conception of the character to the hilt, giving us a waltz that was beautifully sung and very sexy (including the removing and throwing of the knickers). There was a grandness to Garifullina’s Musetta too, and it made me regret that Puccini decided not to set the scene where Musetta is thrown out of her lodgings and throws a party in the courtyard.” Robert Hugill for Opera Today

“the most eye-catching performance came from Aida Garifullina as Musetta. Garifullina has a delicious and unusual combination of clarity and sweetness: it’s a voice that sounds light in timbre but is weighty in volume, making her sparklingly seductive in “Quando m’en vo’” but also serving her well in the greater pathos around Mimì’s bedside in Act 4.” David Karlin for bachtrack

All photos: ROH / Tristram Kenton

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