Opera 180 Announces Next Production as Puccini's La Boheme
Opera180 of Kansas City concludes its 1st season with the classic La Boh'me, with music by Giacomo Puccini and libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Performances are May 30, 31, and June 1 at The Drawing Room by Weinberger Fine Art at 1903 Wyandotte in downtown Kansas City. The production will be sung in Italian.
Opera180 produces its first piece of standard repertoire by reenvisioning Puccini's tragic La Boheme, Sarah Zsohar will make her company debut directing and the production will feature Kristin Newbegin as Mimi, Joshua Baum as Rodolfo, Alyssa Toepfer as Musetta, Paul Hindemith as Marcello, and Christina Dominguez-Fracul as Colline. John Mueter will make his debut as Music Director.
Congruent to Opera180's mission, the Company is revising the work to tighten and streamline the storytelling. This production will feature only the core 6 characters in the original work and will be approximately 100 minutes long compared to a traditional production of two and a half hours.
Artistic Director, Dr. Elizabeth Birger, said of the production, "Opera allows us the opportunity to catch a glimpse into the world as it existed at the time of composition. Stories vary from worlds of fantasy to moments of historical significance. The verismo opera art-form invites the audience to connect with characters and feel their human experience. La Boh'me is classic because the story is timeless and relatable; it is one of love and loss, community and self- discovery. The characters have individual journeys that intertwine at pivotal moments. Our production takes the traditional story and updates the production a bit to be more representative of our current vernacular culture."
Executive Director, Nate Wheatley, offered, "The production's 1896 premiere was quite polarizing. Audiences were unequivocally enthusiastic about the work, but critics found it to be oversimplified. Even French composer Claude Debussy declared that an Italian like Puccini could never take on this particular subject matter concerning French history and art.
That is what I relish in the most about Opera180 choosing to produce this piece of classic repertoire first. Working to make opera more accessible to the public at large, and worrying less about what aristocrats have to say, speaks to the core of what our company is out to do. I believe all art is for public consumption and we shouldn't be barred from experiencing art because a particular critic believes it to be worthless."
Puccini's inspiration for La Boh'me was a novel by French author Henri Murger called Scenes de la Vie de Boh'me. Murger based his novel on his own life experiences as a young Bohemian who lived in extreme poverty living in a small attic apartment as an artist and believing the art was more important than certain comforts of living.
Opera180 is a 501(c)3 organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. The mission is to introduce the art of opera to new and established audiences in fun and innovative ways. The organization also provides aspiring young opera performers with a new venue to practice their craft.