Interview: Charles H. Eaton of LA BOHÈME at Minnesota Opera

This produciton runs May 4-19, 2024

By: Apr. 30, 2024
Interview: Charles H. Eaton of LA BOHÈME at Minnesota Opera
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Interview: Charles H. Eaton of LA BOHÈME at Minnesota Opera

The Minnesota Opera's rendition of La Bohème will grace the stage of the Ordway Music Theater from May 4th to May 19th, 2024. The enchanting music is composed by Giacomo Puccini, with a compelling libretto crafted by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica.

We chat with Charles H. Eaton, who portrays the character Schaunard in the Minnesota Opera's production of "La Bohème."

What do you enjoy most about your role Schaunard in La Bohème?

Schaunard must be one of the most enjoyable roles to perform in operatic repertoire. It's of course easy to relate to him being the musician of the bunch, but there is a complexity to his character and his relationship with the others that makes him so endearing. By going with a more modern take on this classic, our fabulous director Rodula Gaitanou allows Schaunard some extra layers of identity, and a character arc that is so fun and exciting to play (you'll have to come see it to see what I mean).

Interview: Charles H. Eaton of LA BOHÈME at Minnesota Opera
Photo courtesy of Charles H. Eaton who plays Schaunard in the
Minnesota Opera 's Production of La Bohème.

Do you have a favorite aria in this production of La Bohème? 

Oh gosh, that's a tough one...I love the entire score so much, but I think there's a reason why Rodolfo's "Che gelida manina" is one of the most popular tenor arias ever. The delicate strings and harp in the beginning as he first touches her hand are magical, and the eventual swell to the famous high C as he describes the hope, she has given him is one of the greatest musical moments in the repertoire. Our two Rodolfos, Christian Sanders and Won Whi Choi, sing it with such conviction and beauty, and audiences are in for such a treat to hear it. 

What is your favorite moment in this La Bohème?

My very favorite musical moment is actually the music just after Musetta's famous Act II Waltz, "Quando m'en vo’“(stunningly performed by Keely Futterer in our production)- there's a huge swell in the orchestra as Marcello gives in to Musetta's flirtatious taunting, with the entire horn section blasting away on the aria's primary musical theme. It's utterly electrifying when you hear it in person, and even more so when you're on stage as it's happening in the pit. 

My favorite moment in the action is honestly my Act I aria. Schaunard comes in with a load of cash and food and goes on to tell an elaborate tale as to how he acquired it. It's a goofy, far-fetched story, and it's a blast to tell (even if the other three guys only pay attention to the food I brought).

What do you hope the audience takes away from seeing La Bohème at the Minnesota Opera?

La bohème really is a timeless story in the sense that these characters will always be relatable. Friendship, loss, love, jealousy, anger, forgiveness are all part of what it is to be human, and the characters that librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa created exhibit those themes effectively and beautifully. I hope audiences find those moments, characters, and experiences that they relate to and leave with some introspection. What emotions are worth holding onto when life is so short? Who are we hurting by holding onto those emotions? What relationships are most important to us and why? 

It has been a privilege to bring this story to life with this amazing cast and creative team, and I know audiences will be moved to consider those questions and more. 

Thank you Charles for your time, for more ticket and show information, please click the ticket link button below. 


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