There are three chances left to see La Bohème at LA Opera. This Belle Époque set production has wowed audiences with its doomed love story beautifully sung by Nino Machaidze and Olga Busuioc and Mario Chang and rivetingly conducted by Speranza Scappucci. If you’ve missed the La Bohème love these past few weeks, we’ve collected a bunch of articles and a video for you to get a sense of what makes this show Puccini’s timeless masterpiece.
Get To Know La Bohème
In May 2012, Peter Kazaras sat in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, surrounded by his UCLA students, observing a dress rehearsal of Puccini’s La Bohème at LA Opera. During a break, Kazaras asked his students, “When is this production set?” The students hesitated. He continued, “Where is the production set?” They responded, “Paris!” Yet, they still couldn’t determine the time period. Kazaras smiled, pointing out the half-formed Eiffel Tower structure in the background of Act I. He watched the lightbulbs go off, as his students suddenly realized that it must be set in the 1880s, when the Eiffel Tower was under construction. It was in this moment that all Kazaras’s teachings about the importance of design came full circle for his students. Kazaras beamed with pride. Four years later, Kazaras once again comes face to face with this production – this time in the director’s chair. Learn more about how Kazaras directed the current production of La Bohème.
Since film director Herbert Ross (Steel Magnolias, The Turning Point) first envisioned LA Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème in 1993, it’s been staged frequently, wowing Los Angeles audiences time and time again. Before seeing La Bohème, here are five things you may not know about LA Opera’s iconic production.
Duane Schuler is one of the world’s most renowned theatrical lighting designers and a founding partner in the theater planning and architectural lighting design firm Schuler Shook. Currently, Schuler is back in Los Angeles lighting LA Opera’s iconic production of Puccini’s La Bohème. Learn more about his design for the show.
Our production of Puccini’s La Bohème boasts one of the quickest, major set changes ever seen on our stage. From Act I to Act II, La Bohème’s setting changes from a rooftop and garret (loft) to a Parisian street. The main set piece – the garret – is rotated to reveal its opposite side – a two-story building with a ground level cafe. This may not seem like a big deal. It’s just rotating a set piece. How difficult can that be? Difficult – very difficult. Learn more and watch the change.
La Bohème is one of the world’s most beloved operas. In 1993, director Herbert Ross envisioned a production set in the romantic era of Belle Époque Paris, fashioned brilliantly by costume designer Peter J. Hall. Since Hall’s passing in 2010, the costume shop has made some updates to his design, while keeping his original vision for La Bohème alive.
Speranza Scappucci is currently conducting Puccini’s La Bohème at LA Opera. It’s a piece that Scappucci knows really well (she coached the piece for 20 years), but that does not stop her from finding new things in Puccini’s masterpiece. Scappucci discovers these new things by extensively revisiting the score, as if it’s the first time she’s approaching it. Learn more about how Scappucci searches for Puccini’s Truth in his score for La Bohème.
For more than 20 years, members of the prestigious Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) have starred in productions at LA Opera. From playing precocious characters in the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (1998) to singing alongside the pros in Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, LACC children have shared their enthusiasm and vocal gifts with artists, staff and audiences. The latest collaboration between LA Opera and LACC is Puccini’s La Bohème.
By the time bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee finishes his second season in LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, he will have appeared in six different productions with the company. His is the robust voice audiences have heard from off stage in Moby-Dick and The Magic Flute and on stage in Madame Butterfly. He’s also the singer they will see in such diverse roles as Colline in the current production of La Bohème and as Cesare Angelotti in next season’s Tosca. While the 2015 Met National Council Auditions winner may sound and look at home on stage now, he did not always want to pursue a career in opera. Learn more about Brownlee’s journey.
La Bohème in Video
To learn more about and to purchase tickets to La Bohème, click here.