Met Opera presents ‘La Boheme’
Special to the Daily
Puccini’s opera, “La Boheme,” will be the next Metropolitan HD broadcast at Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge, on Saturday, Feb. 24. Note the earlier opening schedule at 10:30 a.m.
The story of “La Boheme” is based on an early 19th-century novel by Henry Merger, relating his own experience as a desperately poor writer living in a Parisian attic. Puccini’s opera version is a vocal and instrumental masterpiece, suitable for inviting anyone new to the scene. With its world premier in Turin, Italy, in 1896, it has been the most frequently performed opera on the Metropolitan Opera stage, there being over 500 performances since its opening in the year 1900. Current reviews in the New York Times describe Franco Zeffirelli’s current production as “a masterpiece of emotional manipulation” and “theatrical and inventive.”
Act I opens in the study of the poor poet Rodolfo (performed by tenor Michael Fabriano) in discussion with his friend Marcello (performed by baritone Lucas Mekachem) along with several invited artists, including land owner Benolt (performed by bass Paul Plushka) in search of overdue rent. After they leave, Rodolfo is interrupted by a knock on the door.
A lovely young woman, Mimi (performed by soprano Sonya Yoncheva), enters the room. Rodolfo notices her sickly appearance and assists her from fainting, as she loses her key. While both are searching, Rodolfo finding the key and puts it into his pocket. He takes Mimi’s cold hand while singing a love aria, “Che gelida manina,” which translates to ”What a cold little hand.” Mimi introduces herself with the famous aria “Mi chiamano Mimi” (“They call me Mimi”). They then depart out the door singing on their way to the Café Mamus.
Act II is a choral gathering of café vendors and shoppers at the Café Mamus. Soon appearing is the pretty, flirtatious young woman, Musetta (performed by soprano Susanna Phillips), who in time sings the famous aria “Musetta’s Waltz,” bragging how men admire her wherever she goes, and finally falls into Marcello’s embrace.
Act III is in the city outskirts. After conversations with Marcello and Musetta, Rodolfo and Mimi decide to depart without bitterness, as their mutual poor status precludes future marriage. Act IV is several months later at a small gathering in Rodolfo’s study. Mimi, sick and weak is brought in by Musetta. In a final aria expressing her undying love for Rodolfo, Mimi experiences sudden death. In desolation, as the opera ends, Rodolfo cries out her name.
“La Boheme” can stake its claim as the world’s most popular opera. The music with orchestral timing, conducted by Marco Armiliato, is lilting throughout. The many melodious and heartfelt arias, reaching the souls of those attending, goes beyond being mere entertainment. “La Boheme,” revealing the depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss, has the marvelous ability to make a powerful first impression and perhaps bring back personal memories among many of those in attendance.
Those attending are requested to bring their own intermission lunches. Coffee, tea, and fruit juices will be provided.
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