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La Bohème © Bernd Uhlig

Puccini La Bohème

From 02 July TO 11 July 2020
Opéra Bastille - Paris
Program

Puccini : La Bohème

2h30 with 1 interval Sung in : Italian
Cast
  • Conductor
    Lorenzo Viotti
  • Director
    Claus Guth
  • Performers
    Mimi: Marina Costa-Jackson (Soprano)
    Rodolfo: Vittorio Grigòlo (Tenor)
    Marcello: Lucas Meachem (Baryton)
    Musetta: Julie Fuchs (Soprano)
    Colline: Krzysztof Baczyk
    Schaunard: Andrzej Filonczyk (Baryton)
Details on the Performance

When, in Scenes of Bohemian Life, the characters imagined by Henry Murger, reminisce over their time as young, penniless artists – the Café Momus, the parties and poor Mimi, cut down in the flower of youth – it is with all the nostalgia that passing time affords. What if we observed La Bohème from a similar distance? Such is the audacious undertaking of Claus Guth: by situating the shattered love affairs of Mimi and Rodolfo light years away, he has created a universe in which the past resurfaces in the form of hallucinatory flashbacks. Puccini’s music resonates sublimely in this surprising setting, and the director brings out the very essence of the work: memory as the tenuous link by which we hold on to life.

 

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  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis
  • Videos

Opéra Bastille - Paris Location Place de la Bastille - 75012 Paris France

  • Venue's Capacity: 2745

The Venue's History in few words …

From its beginnings under Louis XIV to the present day, including the construction of the Palais Gamier under Napoleon III, the history of the Paris Opera has been marked by the wishes and whims of the French government. The decision to build a new opera on the Place de la Bastille is no exception, made by Frangois Mitterrand less than a year after being elected President. A competition was organized, and of the 750 projects presented, the one designed by the Uruguayan-Canadian architect Carl Ott won. The new building, whose large ground surface ostentatiously marks the site where the French Revolution broke out, was inaugurated during the bicentennial celebrations of that same Revolution in 1989.

 

From the Place de la Bastille, the building's glass facade, with its "aleatory" lighting designed by Yann Kersale, suggests the sober modernism of its interior, even more so because the interior uses the same construction materials as the exterior, symbolizing a desire to open out to the public. Once inside, one can discover the warmth of the light wood that adorns the large 2703-seat hall with its proscenium stage. But the building barely stops here, for one must imagine the enormous backstage that takes up 55 per cent of the edifice's total volume, the six underground stories of technical premises, the workshops that make and stock the mobile sets as well as the costumes, not to mention the Gounod Hall, that has a stage identical to the main one, used for rehearsals. Designed around a symmetrical axis that is symbolized by the sculpted tuning forks that decorate the public premises, the Bastille Opera is a formidable computerized machine for staging opera productions, employing the population of a veritable city-within-a-city.

 

The conductor Myung-Whun Chung faced the difficult task of starting up this machine. The audience discovered productions staged by Bob Wilson or Peter Sellars, which it did not always unanimously applaud. But today, in full possession of its impressive technical means, permitting the rotation of different productions, the Bastille Opera proposes the most diverse performances. Currently managed by Hugues Gall and his music director James Conlon, revivals, premieres and major productions now share the season's billing, at a pace that leaves the audience little respite.

Since 2014, Stépahne Lissner is the Director of the Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille

Synopsis

La Bohème

LA BOHEME: ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR OPERAS

La bohème is a very popular opera in 4 acts enjoyed around the world.La bohème was composed by Giacomo Puccini from an Italian libretto, written by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa. Since its first performance in 1896 this opera has become one of the most frequently performed and is rarely absent from an opera house somewhere in the world. La bohème has the distinction of having the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor Toscanini. He made the recording 50 years after first conducting the opera at its premiere in Turin. 

HISTORY
Puccini's opera is a moving tale of young and tragic love set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the early 19th C. It is centred around the garrets of struggling bohemians, where manuscripts are used as fuel to keep them warm and rent goes unpaid. Rodolfo and Mimi meet and fall in love but poverty and illness drive them apart until the end where she dies tragically in his arms.

Act 1
The artist Marcello and Rodolfo the writer and their friends try to keep warm and find enough money for food and rent. Unable to pay the rent they trick their landlord Benoit. When Rodolfo's friends leave for a cafe, he remains behind to write, but is disturbed by a neighbour, Mimi, who is looking for a light for her candle. Rodolfo's candle is also blown out and in the dark they start talking about their dreams, beginning to fall in love.

Act 2
Rodolfo takes Mimi to the cafe and introduces her to his friends. Musetta, a former girlfriend of Marcello's, makes a noisy entrance with her wealthy new lover, Alcindoro. Musetta does her best to regain Marcello's attention, eventually sending Alcindoro away. The group charge their food and drink to Alcindoro's account. A procession of soldiers marches by the cafe and the group of bohemians fall in behind them.

Act 3
Problems arise between the couple as Rodolfo pretends to be jealous and accuse Mimi of being unfaithful. She turns to Marcello for advice. Rodolfo arrives next and Mimi hides. Rodolfo tells Marcello that they must part as she is too fickle but Marcello does not believe this and Rodolfo confesses that he fears Mimi's cough will get worse if she lives in poverty with him. Mimi confronts him and they decide to stay together for a while longer. Meanwhile Marcello and Musetta quarrel noisily and part.

Act 4
Marcello and Rodolfo are now alone and lamenting their past loves. Musetta bursts in to say that a weak and ill Mimi is downstairs. Rodolfo carries her in and Musetta sends Marcello to sell her jewellery to buy medicine. As Rodolfo and Mimi recall their past love and time together she is overtaken with a fit of coughing and becomes unconscious. The opera ends with Rodolfo despairingly calling her name.

MAIN ROLES
Rodolfo - an impoverished writer.
Marcello - his friend, an impoverished artist.
Mimi - Rodolfo's girlfriend.
Musetta - Marcello's girlfriend.
Benoit - their landlord.
Alcindoro - Musetta's rich lover.

Opéra Bastille

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