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The lovers (Mimì/Rodolfo & Musetta/Marcello) in the COC’s La Bohème share their thoughts on their roles, the music, and the beauty of Puccini’s most popular opera.
Phillip Addis –Marcello/Schaunard
The music of La Bohème completes and enhances a simple but beautifully sad story. The text isn’t complicated, keeping with the distilled nature of the characters, but Puccini’s rich score gives fullness to the drama, suggesting everything that is left unsaid and simply felt from the heart.
Eric Margiore – Rodolfo
As an actor, it is a tremendous joy to bring Rodolfo to life through the interactions with his best friends and with his love, Mimì. My favourite moment of La Bohème is when we first see Rodolfo and Mimì falling in love. In the music we hear all the modes of a new love, from the nervous fumbling through the ardent palpitations and declarations. There is a moment in the duet, “O soave fanciulla,”when both voices come together in a truly climactic explosion of passion that everyone in the theatre will experience!
Grazia Doronzio – Mimì
My favourite moment in La Bohème is the orchestra interlude before “Sono andati” in Act IV. Mimì is in the spring of life, full of love and passion for every little thing. She finds strength in a ray of sunshine or from the scent of a flower. This beautiful music is a flashback to the moment she first meets Rodolfo, and through this music she finds the courage to die.
Michael Fabiano – Rodolfo
I think people come to opera because they want to feel and participate in what the performers give to them on stage, and for me, singing Rodolfo is tremendously rewarding as a musician and actor. Rodolfo is madly in love with a woman who he knows (but doesn't want to accept) is terminally ill and can't face it. And this horror of not facing the reality of death makes the character of Rodolfo so heart-wrenching; to be able to sing such a complex character with some of the greatest music ever composed – that is a dream come true.
Dimitri Pittas – Rodolfo
La Bohème is a story that's easy to follow and Puccini drops you right into the opera without needing any background. Singers love it because of its soaring melodies and beautiful orchestration. I love building a rapport with my colleagues and enjoying myself on stage in Bohème more than in any other opera, and I think the audience really appreciates witnessing such tight relationships onstage as well. It makes them feel like they're part of something really special, which they are!
Joyce El-Khoury – Mimì/Musetta
The most interesting aspect of playing these two roles is that while Mimì is meek, melancholic and pure, and Musetta is extroverted, wild, and argumentative – they are really two sides of the same coin. To play these roles in the same production, on the same stage is a unique opportunity that allows me to highlight their differences as characters, and identify exactly who they are.
Joshua Hopkins – Marcello
La Bohème’s energetic opening motif instantly transports me into the life of this troubled character. Marcello’s fraught relationship with Musetta, coupled with the frustrations of being a starving artist, gives me a lot of dramatic material to sink my teeth into. He lives his life from moment to moment, so exploring his emotional highs and lows in each scene makes for an exciting roller coaster ride each night.
Simone Osborne – Musetta
Musetta is full of life and over the top, but she has real heart as well. It’s fun to create a boisterous, seemingly shallow diva character in Act II, and then show real empathy and selflessness by Act IV. Creating a multidimensional character is always a priority for me, and if I can do that while singing glorious Puccini lines, it’s been a good night on the stage.
The COC's production of La Bohème runs until October 30, 2013. Learn more about our three Rodolfos, the set and costume design, and buy tickets now.
Photos from the Canadian Opera Company's 2013 production of La Bohème: (top) Dimitri Pittas as Rodolfo and Grazia Doronzio as Mimì. Photo by Michael Cooper; (middle) Eric Margiore as Rodolfo and Joyce El-Khoury as Mimì. Photo by Chris Hutcheson; (bottom) A scene from the Canadian Opera Company production of La Bohème, 2013.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001