It is hardly surprising that Giacomo Puccini’s creation, “La Bohème,” from 1896, consistently ranks among the most popular operas of all time. It features a classic love story, picturesque Parisian settings and a dramatic end of death by consumption.
Even before it opened on Saturday night, the latest production of Opera Colorado’s work proved to be such a hit with audiences that it added a rare fifth performance, on November 16.
The Denver Post asked production manager Andrew Sinclair three questions about opera and its staging:
Question: To what do you attribute the endless appeal of this opera?
A: Well, it’s probably one of the most romantic music ever written for the lyrical repertoire. There is no doubt that whether people are opera lovers or not, opera lovers or not, they will have heard some of this music. It is also a very well constructed piece. For those of us who know and love him, it constantly amazes us how wonderfully Puccini put him together.
Question: Considering that this piece is performed so frequently, do you feel compelled to find a way to invigorate it?
A: I did a lot of it in the ’80s and early’ 90s and for no particular reason it kind of went out of my repertoire. And it came back in January of this year when I did it in Singapore, and it was really interesting for me to do it again after a long absence, because I thought a little differently about the way I approached some of the characters. There are some things in this production that I have always done the same in others, but there are also a lot of new things.
Question: Can you talk about this production? How do you see opera?
A: What we must try to represent in “Bohème” is not just a romantic opera. We have to try to represent life as it was then. Mimì is truly the only one of the main characters who depends on what she does to stay alive. The four boys have fun pursuing their artistic ideals. They have really nice clothes, but they live in an attic because it’s kind of fun.