La Bohème


La Bohème

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera HouseJanuary 2 – 30, 2020

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Thu 2.1.20
7:30 PM
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Fri 3.1.20
7:30 PM
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Sat 4.1.20
7:30 PM
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Mon 6.1.20
7:30 PM
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Tue 7.1.20
7:30 PM
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Wed 8.1.20
7:30 PM
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Thu 9.1.20
7:30 PM
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Wed 15.1.20
7:30 PM
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Fri 17.1.20
7:30 PM
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Sat 18.1.20
12:30 PM
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Tue 21.1.20
7:30 PM
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This is a relaxed performance, which is designed to ensure guests who may benefit from a more relaxed environment can enjoy the performance experience. This can include families with children, guests on the autism spectrum, guests with dementia, anyone with sensory or cognitive considerations or any individuals who prefer to watch the performance in a more flexible setting. 

Thu 23.1.20
7:30 PM
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Sat 25.1.20
7:30 PM
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Hear the story behind the opera. Join us 45 minutes before this performance when a member of Opera Australia's artistic team will share their insights into the opera. Held in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre, this informal and informative talk will help you to get the most out of your opera experience.

Tue 28.1.20
7:30 PM
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Thu 30.1.20
7:30 PM
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On a freezing Christmas Eve, love sparks. Two hands meet in the dark and four friends’ lives change forever.

Experience the romance of the original bohemian love story.

When Mimì meets Rodolfo, it’s love at first touch. They head out to bustling Café Momus, where the feisty Musetta and Marcello rekindle their relationship. But even the deepest love can’t warm a freezing winter. The bohemians have some growing up to do.

Some 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. The music soars with the ecstasy of love, crackles with the pain of jealousy and cries with the agony of loss.

Set among the fishnets and fairy lights of 1930s Berlin, this is one of our most popular productions.

Two stellar sopranos share the role of Mimì: Karah Son and Valeria Sepe. Kang Wang and Ji-Min Park sing as the poet, Rodolfo. Julie Lea Goodwin and Samuel Dundas have electric chemistry as the on-again, off-again lovers Musetta and Marcello. Carlo Goldstein and Tahu Matheson conduct.

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Conductor Carlo Goldstein (until 9 Jan)
  Tahu Matheson (from 15 Jan)
Director Gale Edwards
Revival Director Liesel Badorrek
Set Designer Brian Thomson
Costume Designer Julie Lynch
Lighting Designer John Rayment
Mimì Karah Son (31 Dec; 2, 4, 7, 9, 15, 18, 23 Jan)
  Valeria Sepe (3, 6, 8, 17, 21, 25, 28, 30 Jan)
Rodolfo Kang Wang (31 Dec; 2, 4, 7, 9, 15, 18, 23, 28, 30 Jan)

Ji-Min Park (3, 6, 8, 17, 21, 25 Jan)

Musetta Julie Lea Goodwin
Marcello Samuel Dundas
Schaunard Michael Lampard
Colline Richard Anderson (31 Dec–9 Jan)
  David Parkin (15–30 Jan)


Graeme Macfarlane


Tom Hamilton

Officer Clifford Plumpton
Sergeant Malcolm Ede


Benjamin Rasheed

Opera Australia Orchestra

Opera Australia Children's Chorus

Opera Australia Chorus

Please note: this production contains nudity and depictions of domestic violence.

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

Sung in Italian with English and Simplified Chinese surtitles.

“This revival of 2011's deft production by Australian theatre director Gale Edwards is an absolute gem”

Sunday Telegraph
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's 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 Benoît, 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!


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.

The performance on 21 January is a designated relaxed performance. There are no significant differences to the production however we aim to provide a more relaxed environment.

A relaxed performance is designed to ensure guests with disability and their families, or anyone who may benefit from a more relaxed environment, can more fully enjoy the performance experience together. This can include people on the autism spectrum, anyone with sensory or cognitive considerations, families*, or any individuals who prefer to watch the performance in a more flexible setting. Anyone can benefit.

Guests are welcome to come and go from their seats during the performance to make the evening more accommodating for persons with disability to facilitate any accessibility considerations they may require.

Download a Social Story pdf guide with performance timings, detailed descriptions and images of the venue if you’d like to be more informed about what to expect when you visit.

A ‘Quiet Space’ is available if a break from the show is needed.

Opera Australia would like to thank Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) for their assistance in making this accessible performance possible.

*Please note La Bohème contains partial nudity.

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