By Alexander Neef, General Director
I was very saddened to learn of Lotfi Mansouri’s death two weeks ago. I knew he had been ill, and the prognosis wasn’t good, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the loss I felt when I heard he’d passed away.
As everyone who came into contact with him knows, Lotfi was full of life. His enthusiasm for life, and especially opera was infectious. A simple recounting of his many accomplishments while at the head of the COC paints a clear picture of how he communicated his love for this company and his community.
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In case you missed it, read Alexander's European Summer Festivals: Part I.
As in Bayreuth, seeing colleagues from the cultural world mixed nicely with wonderful opera at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. When you travel alone, it’s really nice to meet people you know at the theatre in the evenings, so I was very grateful to the people in the festival’s protocol office. They kindly sat three lonely travelers together for three nights: me, Jonathan Friend, the Metropolitan Opera’s artistic administrator, and Catherine Pégard, the President of Versailles (who I knew during my time at the Paris Opera when she was the cultural advisor for the Président de la Republique.)
I was pleased to see Robert Carsen’s new Rigoletto in the Festival’s outdoor Théâtre d’Archevêché, which has been set up in the courtyard of the old archbishop’s palace. Robert has set his new production in a circus, which suited the outdoor setting extremely well.
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By Meighan Szigeti, Associate Manager, Digital Marketing
Like Wagner's Die Walküre before it, Puccini’s La Bohème is one of those popular operas that seeps into our pop-culture subconscious. Many audience members who are new to opera might hear a duet or an aria from La Bohème and suddenly exclaim “oh THAT’S where I’ve heard that!” or “That was in Moonstruck?! Wow, I need to become more cultured.”
Well, that last point may not be the case... but if you find yourself wondering if La Bohème is well represented in TV and movies (aside from Rent, let's focus on the lesser-known references you may have missed), here are a few examples of where you have have seen Puccini’s most-performed opera referenced by other pop-culture creators:
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001