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La Bohème

Puccini

La Bohème

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera HouseJanuary 2 – 31, 2019
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Wed 2.1.19
7:30 PM
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Thu 3.1.19
7:30 PM
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Fri 4.1.19
7:30 PM
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Sat 5.1.19
7:30 PM
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Tue 8.1.19
7:30 PM
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Wed 9.1.19
7:30 PM
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Thu 10.1.19
7:30 PM
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Fri 11.1.19
7:30 PM
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Sat 12.1.19
7:30 PM
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Thu 17.1.19
7:30 PM
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Sat 19.1.19
7:30 PM
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Mon 21.1.19
7:30 PM
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Wed 23.1.19
7:30 PM
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Thu 31.1.19
7:30 PM
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With the flickering of a candle, love sparks. Two hands meet in the dark and four friends’ lives are changed forever.

The way first love grabs hold and floods you with something you’ve never felt before. The fire that burns the first time jealousy flares. The growing up you do in the instant that you realise love can’t last forever. Puccini takes these achingly human feelings and sets them to music — music that soars with the ecstasy of love, crackles with the pain of jealousy and cries with the agony of loss.

Some human emotions are too big for words alone, and for that, we have music. La Bohème exposes your soul to the feelings that only music can express.

Gale Edwards’ glittering production is set among the fishnets and fairy lights of 1930s bohemian Berlin.


Conductor

Benjamin Northey (31 Dec–12 Jan)
Nicholas Milton
(from 12 Jan)

Director Gale Edwards
Revival Director Hugh Halliday
Set Designer Brian Thomson
Costume Designer Julie Lynch
Lighting Designer John Rayment
Assistant Director Liesel Badorrek
   
Mimì Joyce El-Khoury (3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19 Jan)
Maija Kovalevska (2, 4, 9, 11, 21, 23, 31 Jan)
Rodolfo

Ivan Magrì (Jan 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19 Jan)
Diego Torre (2, 4, 9, 11, 21, 23, 31 Jan)

Musetta

Anna Princeva (3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23 Jan)
Julie Lea Goodwin (2, 4, 9, 11, 31 Jan)

Marcello Samuel Dundas (3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23 Jan)
Luke Gabbedy (2, 4, 9, 11, 31 Jan)
Colline N.N.
Schaunard Shane Lowrencev
Benoît Graeme Macfarlane
Alcindoro Adrian Tamburini
Officer Clifford Plumpton
Sergeant Malcolm Ede
Parpignol Nara Lee (until 12 Jan)
Benjamin Rasheed (from 17 Jan)

Opera Australia Orchestra

Opera Australia Chorus

Opera Australia Children's Chorus


Please note: this production contains partial nudity.


Running time: approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one interval.


Sung in Italian with English and Simplified Chinese surtitles.

The StoryHide

A poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher walk into a bar (no really!) to celebrate a sudden windfall in a lean winter. It’s Christmas Eve, and the poet has just felt the first pangs of great love. When a seamstress knocks on his door searching for candlelight, the pair fall in love faster than she can sing, "Yes, they call me Mimì…"

Between the ideals of love and art and the cruel realities of cold winters, bitter jealousies and empty pockets, two sets of lovers are trying to find their way.

By the time the curtain falls, you’ll know the answer to an eternal question:

Is love enough?

Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.

Act I

It is Christmas Eve. Rodolfo, a poet, and Marcello, a painter, are freezing in their studio. Marcello is painting The Crossing of the Red Sea. Colline, a philosopher, arrives as the fire Rodolfo has lit with one of his manuscripts, flickers and dies. Schaunard brings reinforcements — food, wine and fuel for the fire, bought with unexpected money from his earnings as a musician.

A knock at the door and Benoit, the landlord, arrives demanding the rent. The four Bohemians ply him with wine and then bundle him off. Marcello, Colline and Schaunard go off to join the celebrations at Café Momus. Promising to join them soon, Rodolfo settles down to finish an article he is writing.

There is another knock. This time it is a neighbour, Mimì — a beautiful young seamstress, holding her key and an unlit candle. She begs a light and Rodolfo obliges. Mimì departs and drops her key. Together they search for the key, and their hands touch. They tell each other about themselves and Rodolfo passionately declares his love. The new lovers then set off into the night to join the others.

Act II

The square in which Café Momus is situated is the Bohemians' favourite haunt, bustling with shoppers and hawkers. Rodolfo buys his new love a bonnet.

At the café, Marcello's old flame, Musetta, appears with a new admirer, Alcindoro. To attract Marcello's attention, Musetta bursts into her famous waltz song. Marcello responds and Musetta, pretending that her shoe is pinching, dispatches Alcindoro to a cobbler. She joins in the revelry with Marcello and his friends. When they depart they leave a reminder for the hapless Alcindoro on his return — a huge bill!

Act III

It is daybreak just inside a tollgate. Snow lies on the ground. Mimì emerges from the throng of workers. She is looking for Marcello at a nearby inn where he and Musetta have been living for the past month. Pale and agitated, she tells him of Rodolfo's jealousy which has made their life together impossible.

Mimì hides as Rodolfo suddenly appears. He declares her to be unfaithful, but then confides to Marcello that Mimì is very ill and blames himself and his poverty for not being able to help her. Mimì's sudden coughing betrays her presence and the lovers sadly decide it is best that they part.

Their parting duet is interrupted by the sounds of a fierce quarrel between Marcello and Musetta. Mimì and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring returns.

Act IV

The studio, months later.

Both pairs of lovers have now parted. Mimì and Musetta have found wealthy admirers.  Rodolfo and Marcello feign indifference, but neither can forget the memory of his love. Schaunard and Colline arrive with meagre food and the four sit down to a mock 'banquet'.

While they are acting the fool, Musetta rushes in with news that Mimì is desperately ill and has asked to be brought back to Rodolfo to die. Musetta explains that the Viscount has discarded Mimì and she has been living on the streets for weeks sinking further into poverty and desperation. The Bohemians rally to the cause. Musetta pawns her earrings and Colline his beloved coat to buy medicine for Mimì.

Alone for a short time, Mimì and Rodolfo recall the past, reliving their short spell of happiness and their dreams together. Mimì, seized by a coughing fit, falls back, exhausted. When the others return, she weakly thanks them for their kindness and falls asleep.

It is Schaunard who first notices that Mimì is dead. Rodolfo is the last to realise, by seeing the truth on his friends' faces.

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