La bohème

La Bohème stage

Puccini's beloved, essential opera of love

Austin Opera concludes its 2018–2019 season with one of the most enduring works in all of opera: Puccini’s La bohème, April 27–May 5, 2019, at the Long Center.

Deep in the heart of Paris’s Latin Quarter—where music and dancing swirl nightly at the Café Momus— Mimì, a lovely seamstress of delicate health,
 meets handsome poet Rodolfo. Eccentric singer Musetta flirts and feuds with painter Marcello. And philosopher Colline and musician Schaunard do their best to distract the landlord from the rent.

Puccini’s sweeping story of young bohemians struggling to fulfill their dreams and find true love contains some of the most beloved music in all of opera. La bohème is frequently referenced in popular culture—from the Academy Award–winning film Moonstruck to the Tony–winning musical Rent—making the story and its music instantly recognizable to even newcomers to opera.

This exquisite production is a traditional telling 
of the classic tale, from the iconic Christmas Eve panorama in the riotous Café Momus scene in Act II to the dreamy snowscape at the city’s gate in Act III.

The City of Light’s snowy streets, drafty tenements, and nightclub diversions come to life in a production certain to linger in the memory long after its final heartrending scene.

 

Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 25-minute intermission

Kang Wang Headshot

Kang Wang*
Rodolfo

Noel Bouley Headshot

Noel Bouley*
Marcello

Susannah Biller Headshot

Susannah Biller
Musetta

Ashraf Sewailam Headshot

Ashraf Sewailam*
Colline

Andrew Lovato
Schaunard

David Small Headshot

David Small
Benoit/Alcindoro

Production

Music: Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Guiseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Conductor: Peter Bay
Stage Director: Alison Moritz
Scenic Design: Michael Yeargan
Costume Design: Walter Mahoney*
Lighting Design: James Sale
Wig and Make-up Design: Melanie Steele
Audio Design: Bill Mester
Chorus Master/Assistant Conductor: Cina Crisara
Assistant Director: Rebecca A. Herman
Production Stage Manager: Kathleen Edwards

Based on the novel Scènes de la Vie de Bohème by Henry Murger

Scenery designed by Michael Yeargan. Costumes designed by Walter Mahoney. This production originated at San Francisco Opera.

In Italian with projected English titles

*Austin Opera debut

ACT I

Paris, the 1830s. In their Latin Quarter garret, the near-destitute artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm on Christmas Eve by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are soon joined by their roommates—Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. While they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, comes to collect the rent. After making the older man drunk, they urge him to tell of his flirtations. When he does, they throw him out in mock indignation at his infidelity to his wife. As his friends depart to celebrate at the Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to finish an article but promises to join them later. There is another knock at the door—the visitor is Mimì, a pretty neighbor, whose candle has gone out on the stairway. As she enters the room she suddenly feels faint. Rodolfo gives her a sip of wine, then helps her to the door and relights her candle. Mimì realizes she lost her key when she fainted, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. Rodolfo finds the key and slips it into his pocket. In the moonlight, he takes Mimì’s hand and tells her about his dreams. She recounts her life alone in a lofty garret, embroidering flowers and waiting for the spring. Rodolfo’s friends are heard outside, calling him to join them. He responds that he is not alone and will be along shortly. Happy to have found each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave, arm in arm, for the café.

 

ACT II

Amid the shouts of street hawkers near the Café Momus, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet and introduces her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. The toy vendor Parpignol passes by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy entrance on the arm of the elderly but wealthy Alcindoro. The ensuing tumult reaches its peak when, trying to gain Marcello’s attention, she loudly sings the praises of her own popularity. Sending Alcindoro off on a pretext, she finally falls into Marcello’s arms. Soldiers march by the café, and as the bohemians fall in behind, the returning Alcindoro is presented with the check.

 

ACT III

At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a customs official admits farm women to the city. Guests are heard drinking and singing within a tavern. Mimì arrives, searching for Marcello. When the painter appears, she tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy. She says she believes it is best that they part. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, comes outside. Mimì hides nearby, though Marcello thinks she has left. Rodolfo tells his friend that he wants to separate from Mimì, blaming her flirtatiousness. Pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share. Overcome with emotion, Mimì comes forward to say goodbye to her lover. Marcello runs back into the tavern upon hearing Musetta’s laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Marcello returns with Musetta, quarreling about her flirting with a customer. They hurl insults at each other and part, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.

 

ACT IV

Months later in the garret, Rodolfo and Marcello, now separated from their girlfriends, reflect on their loneliness. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. To lighten their spirits the four stage a dance, which turns into a mock duel. At the height of the hilarity Musetta bursts in with news that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. As Rodolfo runs to her aid, Musetta relates how Mimì begged to be taken to Rodolfo to die. She is made as comfortable as possible, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their meeting and their first happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimì slowly drifts into unconsciousness. Schaunard realizes that she is dead, and Rodolfo is left desperate.

Overview

Austin Opera concludes its 2018–2019 season with one of the most enduring works in all of opera: Puccini’s La bohème, April 27–May 5, 2019, at the Long Center.

Deep in the heart of Paris’s Latin Quarter—where music and dancing swirl nightly at the Café Momus— Mimì, a lovely seamstress of delicate health,
 meets handsome poet Rodolfo. Eccentric singer Musetta flirts and feuds with painter Marcello. And philosopher Colline and musician Schaunard do their best to distract the landlord from the rent.

Puccini’s sweeping story of young bohemians struggling to fulfill their dreams and find true love contains some of the most beloved music in all of opera. La bohème is frequently referenced in popular culture—from the Academy Award–winning film Moonstruck to the Tony–winning musical Rent—making the story and its music instantly recognizable to even newcomers to opera.

This exquisite production is a traditional telling 
of the classic tale, from the iconic Christmas Eve panorama in the riotous Café Momus scene in Act II to the dreamy snowscape at the city’s gate in Act III.

The City of Light’s snowy streets, drafty tenements, and nightclub diversions come to life in a production certain to linger in the memory long after its final heartrending scene.

 

Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 25-minute intermission

Cast and Production
Kang Wang Headshot

Kang Wang*
Rodolfo

Noel Bouley Headshot

Noel Bouley*
Marcello

Susannah Biller Headshot

Susannah Biller
Musetta

Ashraf Sewailam Headshot

Ashraf Sewailam*
Colline

Andrew Lovato
Schaunard

David Small Headshot

David Small
Benoit/Alcindoro

Production

Music: Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Guiseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Conductor: Peter Bay
Stage Director: Alison Moritz
Scenic Design: Michael Yeargan
Costume Design: Walter Mahoney*
Lighting Design: James Sale
Wig and Make-up Design: Melanie Steele
Audio Design: Bill Mester
Chorus Master/Assistant Conductor: Cina Crisara
Assistant Director: Rebecca A. Herman
Production Stage Manager: Kathleen Edwards

Based on the novel Scènes de la Vie de Bohème by Henry Murger

Scenery designed by Michael Yeargan. Costumes designed by Walter Mahoney. This production originated at San Francisco Opera.

In Italian with projected English titles

*Austin Opera debut

Synopsis

ACT I

Paris, the 1830s. In their Latin Quarter garret, the near-destitute artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm on Christmas Eve by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are soon joined by their roommates—Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. While they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, comes to collect the rent. After making the older man drunk, they urge him to tell of his flirtations. When he does, they throw him out in mock indignation at his infidelity to his wife. As his friends depart to celebrate at the Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to finish an article but promises to join them later. There is another knock at the door—the visitor is Mimì, a pretty neighbor, whose candle has gone out on the stairway. As she enters the room she suddenly feels faint. Rodolfo gives her a sip of wine, then helps her to the door and relights her candle. Mimì realizes she lost her key when she fainted, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. Rodolfo finds the key and slips it into his pocket. In the moonlight, he takes Mimì’s hand and tells her about his dreams. She recounts her life alone in a lofty garret, embroidering flowers and waiting for the spring. Rodolfo’s friends are heard outside, calling him to join them. He responds that he is not alone and will be along shortly. Happy to have found each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave, arm in arm, for the café.

 

ACT II

Amid the shouts of street hawkers near the Café Momus, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet and introduces her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. The toy vendor Parpignol passes by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy entrance on the arm of the elderly but wealthy Alcindoro. The ensuing tumult reaches its peak when, trying to gain Marcello’s attention, she loudly sings the praises of her own popularity. Sending Alcindoro off on a pretext, she finally falls into Marcello’s arms. Soldiers march by the café, and as the bohemians fall in behind, the returning Alcindoro is presented with the check.

 

ACT III

At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a customs official admits farm women to the city. Guests are heard drinking and singing within a tavern. Mimì arrives, searching for Marcello. When the painter appears, she tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy. She says she believes it is best that they part. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, comes outside. Mimì hides nearby, though Marcello thinks she has left. Rodolfo tells his friend that he wants to separate from Mimì, blaming her flirtatiousness. Pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share. Overcome with emotion, Mimì comes forward to say goodbye to her lover. Marcello runs back into the tavern upon hearing Musetta’s laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Marcello returns with Musetta, quarreling about her flirting with a customer. They hurl insults at each other and part, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.

 

ACT IV

Months later in the garret, Rodolfo and Marcello, now separated from their girlfriends, reflect on their loneliness. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. To lighten their spirits the four stage a dance, which turns into a mock duel. At the height of the hilarity Musetta bursts in with news that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. As Rodolfo runs to her aid, Musetta relates how Mimì begged to be taken to Rodolfo to die. She is made as comfortable as possible, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their meeting and their first happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimì slowly drifts into unconsciousness. Schaunard realizes that she is dead, and Rodolfo is left desperate.

Media
7:30PM, Saturday, April 27, 2019
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
7:30PM, Thursday, May 2, 2019
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
2:30PM, Sunday, May 5, 2019
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
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512-610-7684; Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm

Long Center Box Office Hours
512-474-5664
Monday-Friday:10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday: open during scheduled performances

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