Jim Edwards – Special to the Beacon News

Aurora soprano brings down the opera house

Good news! DuPage Opera Theatre, under the baton of Kurt Muspratt, has come up with just the right singers and musicians to make La Bohème crackle with excitement. Finding just the right Mimì helped.

Michelle Areyzaga learned the role of Mimì in a very short span of time for this production. She did know the opera since she is often cast as the sexy Musetta in La Bohème.

Areyzaga is one fine Mimì. She was able to give us just the right sounds. She discovers love in a darkened studio searching for a lost key with a young poet named Rudolfo, who runs with a wild and crazy group of Parisian young men. Areyzaga never strains her beautiful clear voice nor attempts to battle Musetta in high note duels. She is at her best breathing life into softer passages often raced over by other sopranos. Her death scene in Act IV was especially tender and realistic.

The death of Mimì in Act IV was not overplayed by Areyzaga, who kept her voice devoid of gimmicks, leaving the final swirl of loud and dramatic notes to Muspratt and the inspired playing of the DuPage Opera Theatre Orchestra.

At curtain call time, Muspratt and La Tour joined the cast on stage to enthusiastic applause but it was Michelle Areyzaga, the “Mimì of the Moment” who got the standing ovation.

—Jim Edwards – Special to the Beacon News – July 26, 2007 (As Mimì in La Bohème)