La Bohème

Ahhhhhh the Opera.

I know it’s not a typical past time of a young person but i love it. Partially because of the incredible music and entering another world, but mainly because i always go with my grandparents – it’s our “thing” you could say. With them i’ve been to classics like Madame Butterfly and La Traviata but have always wanted to see an Italian opera in Italy – and on Friday night i did just that! At Turin’s Regio Theatre, inaugurated in 1740.

It’s been closed, re-opened, renovated, burnt down, rebuilt, burnt down again and then 30 years later rebuilt in the 1970’s and then renovated in the 1990s to the shell like, elliptical shape that is the present day theatre

We fluked getting the tickets – apparently it sold out long ago but when we checked the website 7 seats had since become available and snapped up 2 – RIGHT in the middle. So we got all prettied up, and had a macchiato and perused their marionette collection before taking our seats fro La Boheme

La bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. This made it especially exciting! Since 1896 La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States, just behind another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly.

The night was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. The sets, the atmosphere and no offense to the performers who came to Brisbane but these, these were all unbelievable. Barbara Frittoli (Mimi), Marcelo Alvarez (Rodolfo) Maki Mori (Musetta), Gabriele Viviani, Christmas De Carolis and Nicola Ulivieri (respectively Marcello and Colline Schaunard). Another really wonderful thing was the audiences response, calling out BRAVO at any opportunity and throwing white roses onto the stage at the heart-retching conclusion of the Opera

Since the 16th century, the French word bohémien was used to refer to gypsies, based on the erroneous belief that they come from Bohemia. As gypsies are associated in the common imagination with a wild and free life separate from rigid society, the name came to be associated with the counter-culture of young artists and other rebels in the Latin Quarter of 19th century Paris where the liberetto is set.

A particularly wonderful part was in the 3rd Act. When the curtain was raised the whole audience gasped in a united demonstration of our awe and delight at the scene before us. Snow was floating down and a single black tree stood bare and forlorn with some grey buildings around the outskirts as Mimi, the heroine, solemnly walked through alone. Stunning. And then the end of the 3rd act with my favourite Aria of the Opera the quartet of Mimì, Rodolfo, Musetta, Marcello with the final line – Addio dolce svegliare alla mattina! – “Goodbye, sweet awakening in the morning!“.

At the end of the Opera we were overwhelmed and we walked out into crisp night air feeling inspired and very contemplative as we walked home.

And finally crashed into bed until part 2 of our opera experience the next morning when we went for a guided tour of the theatre

Although it was all in Italian i picked up the main points

and just enjoyed the time to wander and relive the previous nights experience as we heard them practicing

Ahhhhhh the Opera.



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3 responses to “La Bohème

  1. margaretbiggs

    we are so happy you saw la boheme. it is one of my favourites. did you cry? it is our thing isn,t it.we are lucky.loved the photo of you behind the flimsy curtins. big hug & kiss margoo xxxooo

  2. sally

    A wonderful episode of your blog. I felt I was there enjoying and being in awe of the beautiful opera, as clearly you were. Sounded like a night out of a fairy tale. LM

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