La Boheme, opera in 4 acts by Giacomo Puccini
A dream cast in the greatest tear-jerker of all time with the most gorgeous music ever.
La Boheme, the passionate, timeless, and indelible story of love among young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as one of the three most performed operas in history — a constant and universal blockbuster that has made audiences cheer and cry for more than 120 years with its summons to gorgeous singing and its unsurpassed orchestral color. Never out of fashion, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things — a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbor — that make up our everyday lives. The Festival has assembled an international cast worthy of the opera’s greatness. Leading tenor John Osborn (the Met, Covent Garden, La Scala) will essay his first Rodolfo beside celebrated soprano Lynette Tapia as Mimi. Lucas Meachem (the Met, Covent Garden, Los Angeles Opera, and Chicago Lyric Opera, an known to Festival audiences for his ‘Figaro’ three years ago) is the passionate painter Marcello while Met debutante Mireille Asselin will be his saucy mistress, Musetta. 22-year Met veteran, Richard Bernstein, is the philosopher, ‘Colline’. This is an opera for all ages, and with the cast of a lifetime, it will make you laugh and cry — and leave you with music in your heart.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
8pm-10pm Phoenicia Park, Main Stage
$5, $35, $90 (VIP)
$5 Youth Admission/18 and under
$35 General Admission/bring blanket, lawn chair, or rent a chair
$90 VIP Admission/reserved section seating, champagne/snack, festival souvenir
Stage Director: Maria Todaro
Assistant Stage Director: Katia Michelopoulos
Conductor: David Wroe
Orchestra: The Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice Orchestra
Rodolfo: John Osborn
Mimi: Lynette Tapia
Marcello: Lucas Meachem
Musetta: Mireille Asselin
Colline: Richard Bernstein
Schaunard: Daniel Scofield
Benoit/Alcindoro: Kevin Glavin
Parpignol: Norman DeVol
The Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice Orchestra
Hudson Valley Youth Chorale
The Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice Chorale
Chorus Master: David Mayfield
Rehearsal Pianist: Irina Meachem
Paris, a garret shared by four “Bohemians”
Artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo are running out of fuel to feed the stove on a bitter-cold night; they decide to burn Rodolfo’s latest manuscript to stay warm. Their other roommates, Colline, a philosopher, and musician Schaunard enter with food, fuel, and money. Their celebration is interrupted by the landlord, Benoit, come to collect the rent. The four Bohemians get Benoit drunk, urge him to relate his romantic exploits, and toss him out when he boasts of his infidelity to his wife. Three of the four head to the Café Momus while Rodolfo stays behind to work on an article. There is a knock on the door, and Rodolfo opens it to his pretty neighbor, whose candle has gone out; she has no matches and asks Rodolfo to light the candle. She enters and suddenly feels faint. Rodolfo urges her to sit and drink a bit of wine. When she is better and gets up to leave, he relights her candle, but just as she is leaving, she realizes she has lost her key. The two search for it, and both candles are extinguished. Rodolfo finds and pockets the key, takes Mimi’s cold hand in his and tells her of his life as a poet, then asks for her story. “They call me Mimi,” she begins, and describes her simple life as an embroiderer. The other three Bohemians call out to Rodolfo to join them. Mimi asks to go with him to Café Momus; they leave, singing of their love.
Outside the Café Momus
A crowded and noisy street scene as Rodolfo buys Mimi a bonnet and Colline purchases a coat and Schaunard a horn. They all sit down to supper. Children pursue the toy seller, Parpaignol, as he passes by. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, arrives to great fanfare on the arm of the elderly but rich Alcindoro, but she immediately goes to work to gain Marcello’s attention. As he tries hard not to fall victim to her charms, she sings of her own popularity wherever she goes. She sends Alcindoro off to get her too-tight shoe fixed, and she and Marcello reunite in an embrace. The bill for the meal comes, and Musetta charges it to Alcindoro. The Bohemians leave, and the waiter presents the old man with the check.
Dawn, a tollgate at one of the gates to Paris
Faint sounds of singing and carousing issue from a nearby tavern as a customs official admits farm women into the city. Mimi, coughing harshly, arrives in search of Marcello, who is painting signs for the tavern’s owner while Musetta teaches singing. Mimi tells Marcello of Rodolfo’s terrible jealousy and that he completely abandoned her the previous night. She hides herself when Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, comes out looking for Marcello. Rodolfo tells his friend that he wants to separate from Mimi because he can’t bear her flirting. But the real reason, as Marcello gets him to admit, is that he fears her cough is a sign of illness that will only get worse in their shared poverty. Mimi, stricken, steps out of the shadows to say goodbye. Marcello hears Musetta’s flirtatious laugh and runs back into the tavern. We hear the overtones of their bitter arguing from within, while outside, Mimi and Rodolfo reconcile and decide to stay together till the spring.
Months have passed. Rodolfo and Marcello are trying to work but are distracted by their loneliness; both Mimi and Musetta have left them for wealthy lovers. Colline and Schaunard enter, bringing some food. The four make the best of it and are soon horsing around giddily—till Musetta bursts in, announcing that Mimi is outside but too weak to climb the stairs. Rodolfo runs to her as Musetta tells the others that Mimi asked to be with Rodolfo to die. Rodolfo brings her in and makes her as comfortable as possible. Musetta and Marcello go out to sell Musetta’s earrings for medicine, and Colline decides to sell his beloved overcoat. Schaunard goes with him, and Mimi and Rodolfo are alone together. They recall their first meeting in this room, the candles that went out, the key that was “lost.” Mimi’s coughing soon overwhelms her, but the others return with medicine and the gift of a muff to warm her hands. Mimi tells Rodolfo she is better and seems to fall asleep. The Bohemians stand about, Musetta prays, and Rodolfo believes Mimi has become calm till Schaunard notices that it is the stillness of death. Rodolfo rushes to her, crying out her name in helpless anguish.
NOTE: Puccini and his librettists, Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, writing La Bohẻme in 1895, set the drama in the 1830s, following the book by Henri Murger on which they based the story. But in a tradition as old as opera itself, stage director Maria Todaro has chosen to set this production of the opera in the current time. The music, libretto, and passions remain timeless and universal.