La Bohème: a moving, stunning performance by the English National Opera

La Bohème: a moving, stunning performance by the English National Opera

After a night at the opera, we'd heartily recommend the experience

Yours Verdict

Product: La Bohème,
Price: £12.00
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Pics © ENO, Thomas Bowles.   Tickets from £12

Why La Bohème?

We knew opera was the height of culture, but we never realised just how accessible and enjoyable it is these days.

After a fascinating peek backstage and on set (available through pre-booking at extra cost), we settled into extremely comfortable seats for a 2 hour performance, with 20 minute interval.

Then came the performers, bringing scenes to life with Christmas spirit. The first half is a lovely nod to the impending festivities, without being too much for Advent. The performance is four acts in total, with a beautiful snow scene and extremely moving solos, as well as some rousing duets.

Set in 1930s Paris, this version of La Bohème is devised by Jonathan Miller (famous for making operas more accessible and relevant to modern audiences), and tells the story of lovers Rodolfo and Mimi.

The English National Opera (ENO) perform in English, as well as providing subtitles, which helped us to better grasp the story. We were also pleased to see someone signing throughout, a service that accompanies selected performances.

We found the pace much slower than any theatre we’d seen before. But the stunning singing was a joy to experience, and the emotional music really stirred the audience.

There are reasonable pricing options, the most tempting of which are the Secret Seats (available online). You pay £20 in advance for a seat, allocated at random on the night, which has a value of £25 or more. We think it’s worth the gamble!

Overall: you may think opera won’t be your cup of tea. But the ENO welcomes everyone, whether you’re in jeans or evening dress. They simply want you to enjoy yourself, which we certainly did.

Upcoming opera with the ENO

La Traviata – tells the story of the beautiful Violetta, who sacrifices everything for love. Feb 9-Mar 13, 2015

Sweeney Todd  - the classic tale celebrates its 85th anniversary, with its most operatic version yet. Cast includes Emma Thompson. Mar 30-Apr 12, 2015

The Pirates of Penzance – Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic masterpiece, directed by award-winning Mr Turner director Mike Leigh. May 9 – Jun 27, 2015

La Bohème runs until Dec 6, 2014 at the London Coliseum, from £12 plus booking fee. To book tickets for La Bohème or any of the above operas, call 0207 845 9300 or visit