performance at the Seattle Opera:
Posted May 16, 2007
Gun-Brit Barkmin (Mimì, on bed)
with Michael Todd Simpson (Marcello), Ashraf Sewailam (Colline),
Marcus DeLoach (Schaunard), and Scott Piper (Rodolfo).
© Rozarii Lynch
a tragic operatic performance of love and desire, is currently
showcased at the Seattle Opera in McCaw Hall.
composer Giacomo Puccini first debuted his masterpiece in 1896
in Turin, Italy. Since then
has become the second most performed opera in North America. The
four acts are based on a collection of stories written by Henri
Murger that revealed the realities of the Bohemian life in
opens up in the starving artists’ Marcello and Rodolfo’s
Parisian quarters. It is Christmas Eve and being broke and
confined in the extreme cold, they are subject to burning
Rudolph’s manuscript in exchange for the brief warmth of the
fire. Their bohemian friend Schaunard arrives with money he
gained from outwitting a rich Englishman and suggests a
celebration at Café Momus. Rodolfo promises to meet them after
he completes his work. Soon after there is a knock at his door,
his neighbor, Mimi, needs her candle lit. While leaving Mimi
realizes she has dropped her key, the two search for it and both
candles blow out. In the dark they share their aspirations and
dreams and in a moment, fall in love.
In Act Two,
Rodolfo brings his new love, Mimi, to the Café to meet his
friends. At dinner, Marcello encounters his former lover,
Musetta, alongside a wealthy man. Although the two are no
longer, their longing for each other is still expressed. Musetta
complains her shoes are pinching and sends her new lover to
fetch another pair. While he is gone, Marcello and Musetta fall
into one another’s arms once again.
takes place on a sparkling, snowy set in the outskirts of Paris.
Mimi travels to the new home of Marcello and Musetta to express
her misery over Rodolfo’s unhappiness in their relationship.
Rodolfo then expresses to Marcello his devastation of Mimi dying
and that he is financially unable to support her. Rodolfo and
Mimi both suggest it is best for them to part. They begin to
recall their memories of happiness and decide to stay together
In Act Four,
Rodolfo and Marcello are back in the home they shared together,
both lonely once again. Musetta explodes through the door saying
Mimi is too weak to climb the stairs as she is attempting to
find her never forgotten lover. Rodolfo rushes to her side,
cares for her and they recall the wonderful days they spent
together. Once again, they express their longing for one another
and their inability to be apart. In his presence, Mimi dies and
Rodolfo is overcome with colossal pain.
Each act is
fabulously set upon ornate sets that bring the story into
reality and vast emotion is conveyed through the mastered
voices—the love and longing is deeply felt through the cast into
La Boheme is
a must see performance. Puccini’s opera was originally scheduled
for 10 performances, but due to high demand the Seattle Opera
has added performances on May 18 and May 20.
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