La bohème

Cast

Frank Van Aken
Herod Antipas

Jennifer Larmore
Herodias

Jennifer Holloway
Salome

Nathan Berg
Jochanaan

Adam Diegel
Narraboth

Creative

Arthur Fagen
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Director

Erhard Rom
Scenic & Projections Designer

Robert Wierzel
Lighting Designer

Mattie Ullrich
Costume Designer

Amir Levy
Choreographer

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Librettists: Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa
Premiere Date: Feb 1, 1896, Teatro Regio, Turin, Italy

Nothing captures the music of love-at-first-sight quite like this. among the most popular operas ever written, La bohème has it all: timeless arias, a soaring love duet, irresistible melodies, and aching tragedy. A testament to its staying power, this 1896 masterpiece has inspired many offshoots, including the Tony Award-winning musical Rent, and the silver-screen classic “Moonstruck.” And it’s no wonder; La bohème goes straight from the singers’ lips to the human heart.

Performed in Italian with English supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

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Mangia!

All Performances: Pre-show fine dining
$53 for Sat, Tues, Fri dinner
$43 for Sun brunch

Final Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, November 5: Teachers with students may attend the final dress rehearsal for FREE
Available soon

Opera’s Night Out

Friday, November 13: Young professionals enjoy a pre-show cocktail hour + ticket to the show
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Groups

All Performances: Save up to 25%
For groups of 10 or more
Contact: groups@atlantaopera.org

Student Rush Tickets

All Performances: Students with ID may purchase discount tickets two hours in advance at the Cobb Energy Centre
$25 – 35 per seat

Get the Feeling

Get the Feeling

Synopsis

ACT I
Paris, the 1830s. In their Latin Quarter garret, the near-destitute artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm on Christmas Eve by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are soon joined by their roommates—Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. While they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, comes to collect the rent. After making the older man drunk, they urge him to tell of his flirtations. When he does, they throw him out in mock indignation at his infidelity to his wife. As his friends depart to celebrate at the Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to finish an article but promises to join them later. There is another knock at the door—the visitor is Mimì, a pretty neighbor, whose candle has gone out on the stairway. As she enters the room she suddenly feels faint. Rodolfo gives her a sip of wine, then helps her to the door and relights her candle. Mimì realizes she lost her key when she fainted, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. Rodolfo finds the key and slips it into his pocket. In the moonlight, he takes Mimì’s hand and tells her about his dreams. She recounts her life alone in a lofty garret, embroidering flowers and waiting for the spring. Rodolfo’s friends are heard outside, calling him to join them. He responds that he is not alone and will be along shortly. Happy to have found each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave, arm in arm, for the café.

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ACT II
Amid the shouts of street hawkers near the Café Momus, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet and introduces her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. The toy vendor Parpignol passes by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy entrance on the arm of the elderly but wealthy Alcindoro. The ensuing tumult reaches its peak when, trying to gain Marcello’s attention, she loudly sings the praises of her own popularity. Sending Alcindoro off on a pretext, she finally falls into Marcello’s arms. Soldiers march by the café, and as the bohemians fall in behind, the returning Alcindoro is presented with the check.

ACT III
At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a customs official admits farm women to the city. Guests are heard drinking and singing within a tavern. Mimì arrives, searching for Marcello. When the painter appears, she tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy. She says she believes it is best that they part. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, comes outside. Mimì hides nearby, though Marcello thinks she has left. Rodolfo tells his friend that he wants to separate from Mimì, blaming her flirtatiousness. Pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share. Overcome with emotion, Mimì comes forward to say goodbye to her lover. Marcello runs back into the tavern upon hearing Musetta’s laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Marcello returns with Musetta, quarreling about her flirting with a customer. They hurl insults at each other and part, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.

ACT IV
Months later in the garret, Rodolfo and Marcello, now separated from their girlfriends, reflect on their loneliness. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. To lighten their spirits the four stage a dance, which turns into a mock duel. At the height of the hilarity Musetta bursts in with news that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. As Rodolfo runs to her aid, Musetta relates how Mimì begged to be taken to Rodolfo to die. She is made as comfortable as possible, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their meeting and their first happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimì slowly drifts into unconsciousness. Schaunard realizes that she is dead, and Rodolfo is left desperate.

Characters & Cast

Maria

a beautiful prostitute born in the slums of Buenos Aires who has a gift for seduction and dancing, but plagued by jealous people.

played by:

Georgia Jones Georgia is a lyrical soprano known for her acting and dancing skill as well as her lorem ipsum dolor fendorit fendolit pendorum habulit fendorilit pentorum.

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Ernesto

Lorem ipsum dolor fendorit fendolit pendorum habulit fendorilit pentorum habilium foliptus fendorit haborum capulitus es et christum

played by:

Derek Smith Georgia is a lyrical soprano known for her acting and dancing skill as well as her lorem ipsum dolor fendorit fendolit pendorum habulit fendorilit pentorum.

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Newbie Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Mangia!

Our elegant three course dining at the Cobb Energy Center is seated on the mezzanine before every performance. Please make reservations 5 business days prior to the performance.

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Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera and the composer with board member and opera aficionado, Carter Joseph. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

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Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?

Auditions

Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.

Rehearsals

Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Composer

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Puccini emerged into the twentieth century music world as the “King of Verismo,” not through the conducting background of Mascagni or through the skilled compositional ability of Giordano, but as a master of theater. Puccini wrote solely for the operatic stage and he understood the dramatic intensity and melodic poignancy of real life subject matter. Critics have sometimes dismissed his work as overly impassioned, melodramatic, and sentimental. The composer himself proclaimed, “The only music I can make is that of small things,” although he admired the grander stylistic abilities of Verdi and Wagner. Despite that admiration, Puccini chose to concentrate on life’s familiar bittersweet passions and intense emotional storms.

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Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy and descended from a long line of musicians, conductors, and composers. It was assumed he would inherit the talent and interest to continue in his family’s chosen craft. At the tender age of six years, upon his father’s premature death, he fell heir to the position of choir master and organist at San Martino Church and professor of music at Collegio Ponziano. However, plans to preserve these posts for the young Puccini may as well have been canceled the day he hiked thirteen miles to the city of Pisa to witness a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s latest work, Aida. He determined his own future at that moment, falling completely under the spell of opera, never to recover.

A stipend from a wealthy great-uncle and a scholarship from Queen Margherita herself supported Puccini in his education at the music conservatory in Milan. The great composers Antonio Bazzini and Amilcare Ponchielli taught the young musician; Ponchielli eventually encouraging Puccini’s participation in a one-act opera competition sponsored by the publishing house of Sonzogno. Friends of Ponchielli even provided the libretto. Unfortunately, Puccini’s first opera, La Villi , didn’t take the prize. However, the powerful critic/librettist, Arrigo Boito, raised funds for its performance before appreciative audiences at La Scala and Ricordi published the score. The modest success bolstered Puccini’s confidence, but provided little compensation. A second opera, Edgar , failed as the result of a poor libretto.

Puccini’s persistence was rewarded with the production of Manon Lescaut . Premiered in February 1893 in Turin, the opera proved a resounding triumph. Puccini was suddenly established as a wealthy composer and artistic successor to Maestro Giuseppi Verdi. The two operas that followed, La Bohème  and Tosca, achieved success gradually with Bohème peaking after three productions and Tosca, after five years of presentations throughout Europe.

As Puccini acquired substantial wealth, he took on the persona which accompanied him throughout the rest of his life as the “grand seigneur.” He built a reputation as a dedicated game hunter, collector of cars and motor boats, and a great romantic figure. “I am almost always in love!,” he declared, and defined himself as “a mighty hunter of wild fowl, operatic librettos and attractive women.” His appreciation and compassion for women abounds in the substance of his operatic heroines, their valiant struggles and, most often, melancholy demise. He created these elegant, three-dimensional characters with the material of sweet and haunting melody. The innocent Mimi, embattled Tosca, abandoned Butterfly, embittered Turandot – each one a fascinating study in feminine psychology, each the perfect counterpart to an equally interesting tenor role. Puccini’s own stormy relationship with Elvira Gemignani evoked a certain horror in fans and attracted something of a lurid interest from the general public. A married woman, she eloped with the composer and they were not married until some time after her husband’s death. Seemingly an uninteresting and strangely unchallenging partner, she is said to have limited Puccini intellectually and emotionally, inexplicably cutting him off from most personal relationships with friends and other artists.

Eventually, she embroiled the household in scandal, hounding a young maid unmercifully with accusations of a liaison with her husband. The girl committed suicide and Elvira was jailed for five months. The Puccinis separated, then reconciled, but their relationship was forever damaged. Puccini fought hard to keep his difficult private life private, against impossible odds. “What a subject for an opera!,” one social columnist exclaimed. During this tragic episode, despite his obvious emotional turmoil, the composer completed the opera La Fanciulla del West , which met with immediate acclaim.

In general, Puccini seems to have lived in artistic isolation. Even a productive relationship with Arturo Toscanini blew hot and cold. In one comic exchange, Puccini forgot he and Toscanini were currently estranged and sent a Christmas pannetone. Realizing the error, Puccini wired Toscanini with an explanation:

PANNETONE SENT BY MISTAKE, PUCCINI.

Toscanini immediately replied:

PANNETONE EATEN BY MISTAKE, TOSCANINI.

It was Toscanini who conducted the famous opening night of Madama Butterfly , which ran in its original form for that one performance only. After serious reworking, including changing the basic framework from two acts to three and replacing some objectionable arias with more melodic ones, Butterfly triumphed in a new opening under the baton of Arturo Toscanini.

In the single decade before his death, Puccini completed La Rondine , and the trilogy of Il Tabarro Suor Angelica andGianni Schicchi . He was in the process of finishing Turandot , the opera he considered his crowning achievement, when a persistent throat ailment was diagnosed as cancer. He died a few days after surgery and completion of the work was left to colleague, Franco Alfano. Shortly before his death, Puccini wrote that the music audience had lost its taste for melody and tolerated music devoid of logic and sensibility. He predicted “the end of opera” and, in fact, Turandot , was the last opera to rank as an internationally accepted standard repertory piece. No one since Puccini has enjoyed such a following.

Courtesy Arizona Opera Virtual Opera House

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Conductor

Fred Smith

Giuseppe Verdi was the greatest composer of Italian opera in the nineteenth century. He was also a man who helped shape his time, and his time helped shape him. When he was born, ‘Italy’ was only a figure of speech; it was composed of small states, each with its own dialect that could not be easily understood by the citizens of other parts of the peninsula. Only the speech of Tuscany, with its capital, Florence, and of other nearby states would be understood as Italian today. The states shared little history; most were under the domination of some foreign power, and each state used different currencies. Music formed the only common bond, and Verdi provided that. He united Italians with his music before they were united politically. His very name, V-E-R-D-I, was an acronym for Vittorio Emmanuele, Re d’Italia, the king of Piedmont who later became the first king of a united Italy. ‘VIVA VERDI’ became the most revolutionary and patriotic cry in Italy

Frederick-W-Smith

Director

Fred Smith

Giuseppe Verdi was the greatest composer of Italian opera in the nineteenth century. He was also a man who helped shape his time, and his time helped shape him. When he was born, ‘Italy’ was only a figure of speech; it was composed of small states, each with its own dialect that could not be easily understood by the citizens of other parts of the peninsula. Only the speech of Tuscany, with its capital, Florence, and of other nearby states would be understood as Italian today. The states shared little history; most were under the domination of some foreign power, and each state used different currencies. Music formed the only common bond, and Verdi provided that. He united Italians with his music before they were united politically. His very name, V-E-R-D-I, was an acronym for Vittorio Emmanuele, Re d’Italia, the king of Piedmont who later became the first king of a united Italy. ‘VIVA VERDI’ became the most revolutionary and patriotic cry in Italy

Frederick-W-Smith