San Diego Opera Announces Live Drive-In Performances of LA BOHEME

LA BOHEME will open October 24 at Pechanga Arena San Diego parking lot, starring Angel Joy Blue and Joshua Guerrero.

By: Sep. 21, 2020
San Diego Opera Announces Live Drive-In Performances of LA BOHEME

San Diego Opera has announced drive-in performances of La bohème at the Pechanga Arena San Diego parking lot (3500 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110), starting October 24, 2020 at 7:30 PM. Additional performances are October 27, 30, and November 1, 2020. These performances mark the first performances of live opera in the community since the Company closed Hansel and Gretel in February and will mark one of the first professionally produced staged, live, opera performances in the nation since the emergence of COVID-19 led to cancellations and postponements around the world. These performances will also mark the return of the San Diego Symphony performing live since cancelling their current season. These drive-in performances of La bohème is made possible in part by the generous support of Lead Production Sponsor, Darlene Marcos Shiley.

Since the emergence of COVID-19 San Diego Opera has continued to closely monitor the recommendations of public health and government officials and realized that a traditional season in a traditional theatre is impossible to contemplate right now. Because of this, the Company developed this alternative plan after learning about other safe and successful drive-in live performances in both Europe and the United States. Patrons will remain in their cars for the duration of the performance and socially distanced protocols will be enforced should the patron need to briefly leave their vehicle. Patrons will be able to listen to the opera through their car stereo which will be broadcast via an FM transmitter. Screens will also enhance audience members experience with close up footage of the singers on stage. These performances will be a car-friendly reduced performance of Puccini's beloved opera with musical cuts to bring the opera close to 90-minutes.

"Since the onset of COVID-19, we've been working diligently to find ways to bring live performances to San Diego while preserving the health and safety of our audiences, employees, and audiences," shares San Diego Opera General Director David Bennett. "After attending Mainly Mozart's successful drive-in concerts this summer, I knew this drive-in format would work well for us, and allow our audiences to enjoy live performances and a communal experience in a safe environment."

La bohème is an important opera for the Company; it was the first opera San Diego Opera presented when it became a producing Company in 1965 and was the first opera the Company presented after its near closure in 2015, which was also the Company's 50th anniversary. La bohème tells the story of young friends in Paris and the poet Rodolfo's love affair with the sick and ailing seamstress Mimì. Considered by many to be the "perfect" first time opera, it is one of the most popular operas produced and served as the basis of the musical Rent.

Staging La bohème in a socially distanced world comes with some challenges as artists require 120 square feet of space around them, and no one can sing within 15 feet of each other. To tackle these challenges the director, Keturah Stickann, has placed the action in Rodolfo's study sometime after the death of Mimì, which occurs at the end of the opera. The poet Rodolfo is writing his "Bohemian Stories," and as he writes, his memories of the events of the opera come to life around him enabling singers to share the stage while keeping one another safe.

These performances of La bohème mark the welcome return of soprano Angel Blue in the role of Mimì, a role she has sung at the world's biggest stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and English National Opera. Ms. Blue made her Company debut as Liú in 2018's Turandot. She is joined by tenor Joshua Guerrero as the poet Rodolfo in his main stage San Diego Opera debut. Mr. Guerrero made his Company debut in 2019 as the tenor soloist in One Amazing Night with Ailyn Pérez and again last season as the tenor soloist in the Bel Canto Trio. Also making Company debuts for these performances are soprano Andrea Carroll as Musetta and baritone Alexander Elliot as Marcello. Baritone Robert Mellon makes his Company debut as Schaunard and stalwart bass baritone Scott Sikon sings the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro. Bass Colin Ramsey, last heard as Marullo in 2019's Rigoletto, returns to sing the role of Colline. The opera is staged by Keturah Stickann who last directed 2018's Turandot, making a happy reunion for Ms. Stickann and Ms. Blue.

Performances of La bohème will take place at the Pechanga Arena San Diego parking lot located at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110. Performance are October 24, 27, 30 and November 1, 2020 all at 7:30 PM. There is no matinee performance for these drive-in performances of La bohème.

Subscribers who have already subscribed to La bohème have been rolled into the drive-in performance on the day to which they subscribed and are being contacted directly by the Company. Preferred parking areas will be provided for subscribers based on their current seating sections within the Civic Theatre.

Tickets for non-subscribers are now on sale at Guests are allowed to bring as many passengers as their car has seatbelts. San Diego Opera recommends guests only attend the opera with people they have already been quarantining with. All guests are required to watch the opera from their vehicle and wear masks if they briefly need to leave their vehicle to use the restroom facilities. The non-subscriber tickets for La bohème begin at $200 per car with a limited number of premium parking spaces at $300. Every ticket sold to San Diego Opera's 2020-2021 season includes a Ticket Purchase Guarantee. This means, if for any reason, a patron or guest feels sick or unsafe, or San Diego Opera finds it impossible to safely move forward with our plans, our Patron Services department will work with tickets holders to reschedule seats or find an agreeable solution.

Sung in Italian with projected English translations, these performances mark the twelfth time La bohème has been performed by San Diego Opera with the first performances as the Company's inaugural opera in 1965 and most recently in 2015, the Company's 50th Anniversary.


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