Gale Edwards’ lavish production inhabits 1930s Berlin, a hub for young impoverished creatives contending with the high cost of round-the-clock hedonism in a city seething with glitzy excess.
Berlin, midwinter, 1934.
A painter, a musician, a philosopher and a poet are having a night on the town. Café Momus is too pricey for them – they’ve nothing to weigh down those moth-eaten pockets. But why worry? The landlord is sorted, the bar tab can wait. They’re young and their lofty ideals will keep body and soul together.
And then there’s love. Ah, love. That tingle of electricity as two hands meet. The fire in the eyes of the girl you want so badly. Love will keep us warm, won’t it? Find out, when Puccini’s bohemian boys wake up.
Puccini’s penniless dreamers are the very picture of the original starving artist...
Back then, there were no arts councils, no grants, no HECS: Puccini’s penniless dreamers are the very picture of the original starving artist. But why do we glamorise this hand-to-mouth way of life?
Choosing the quill or the canvas over stability and respectability; renouncing all but a little daily bread to nourish the creative essence that burns within us? It certainly has a whiff of noble sacrifice about it, enduring hardship in the service of inspiration.
Gale Edwards’ lavish production brings the garret dwellers to 1930s Berlin, a hub for young impoverished creatives contending with the high cost of round-the-clock hedonism in a city seething with glitzy excess.
Little do they know that their art is bearing witness to the end of an era, and when that decadent bubble bursts they’ll have to step into the real world.
Until then, it helps to have friends like Rodolfo, Marcello, Schaunard and Colline to keep the cheap wine and inspiration flowing.
As for women, well, that’s another problem.
Che gelida manina sung by Ji-Min Park from La boheme by Opera Australia 2011
Che gelida manina from La boheme, sung by Ji-Min Park
Watch the La Bohème trailer
La Bohème: A listening guide
|Set Designer||Brian Thomson|
|Costume Designer||Julie Lynch|
|Lighting Designer||John Rayment|
Car (until 11 January)
Opera Australia Children's Chorus
Running time: approx two hours and fifteen minutes including one twenty-minute interval.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles.
"Gale Edwards’s provocative staging of La Bohème, set amid the glamour and decadence of 1930s Berlin, was a visual feast"
“A sumptuous treat for the eyes and the ears, this is a wonderful night at the opera”
"This new version soars with emotional intensity and vocal clarity."