By Suzanne Vanstone
Beloved Bohème. No matter how many times one experiences this iconic work, the extraordinary pull of Puccini’s music continues to draw us in. With 15 COC mainstage productions and numerous mini-Bohèmes on tour and in recital, outdoors and in, the company is once again proud to present this cherished opera in a brand new production.
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By Nikita Gourski, Development Communications Officer, and Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager
In a sea-battered village on the east coast of England, a fisherman named Peter Grimes is suspected of murdering his young apprentice. But his crime – real or not – will soon be eclipsed by something more sinister: a nameless crowd united by hatred, out to persecute the lone outsider in their midst.
Finding Home, Away From Home
In April 1939, with fascism casting a long shadow over Europe, English composer Benjamin Britten relocated to America. While working in California, he discovered the poetry of George Crabbe, an English writer from the late 1700s. Crabbe’s bracingly realistic depictions of village life in Suffolk filled Britten with nostalgia and homesickness. And the story of a cruel Aldeburgh fisherman, included in Crabbe’s 1810 collection, The Borough, gave Britten the seed of his first full-scale opera. In reading Crabbe, Britten noted, “I suddenly realised where I belonged and what I lacked.” A year later, he and his partner, tenor Peter Pears, sailed home for England.
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By Meighan Szigeti, Associate Manager, Digital Marketing and Danielle D'Ornellas, Digital Marketing Coordinator
So what’s it all about?
La Bohème is a story of a young group of bohemians, originally set in 1840s Paris in the Quartier Latin. The four main characters, Mimì, Rodolfo, Musetta and Marcello, and their friends Colline and Schaunard all share the ups and downs of a typically bohemian life – love, loss, poverty, fun, and living life as if it was a performance. You have Rodolfo the poet, Mimì the seamstress, Marcello the painter, Musetta the singer, Schaunard the musician and Colline the philosopher, each defined by what they do, but not limited by it. As an opera, La Bohème is both light-hearted and heartbreaking, and has drawn audiences since its premiere with its emotional score and story-telling.
Want a quick synopsis? Head over here to read the plot on the performance. (Spoiler alert if you haven't seen it yet!)
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001