A LA BOHEME for Today

VOPA's new production offers a familiar experience.

By: Sep. 18, 2023
A LA BOHEME for Today

A LA BOHEME for Today

Valley Opera and Performing Arts (VOPA) presents a uniquely relevant production of Puccini’s cherished opera, La Boheme. With concept by Dylan F. Thomas and stage direction by Brayden Hade, this rendition will transport audiences back to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 New York.

Thomas jovially asks, "Who needs Tuberculosis when we have Covid? Today's audiences can't relate to a pandemic that took place over two centuries ago, but they sure know about Covid", referencing the opera's original storyline that the heroine Mimi suffers from Tuberculosis. Hade notes that his staging "will offer a more meaningful experience for today's audiences of all ages", though he notes that this opera staging is best for ages 16 and up. Thomas makes clear that, by incorporating the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, "This production seeks to evoke a profound reflection on the enduring power of love and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of an extreme adversity that everyone in the room knows about all too well." 

The role of Mimi will be portrayed by award-winning soprano Shira Renee Thomas, with critically acclaimed tenor Xavier Prado playing opposite her in the role of Rodolfo. Rounding out the cast are multiple GRAMMY Award-winning baritone Gabriel Manro as Marcello, with Los Angeles favorites Phil Meyer as Colline, Agnese Gallenzi as Musetta, Adam McCrory as Schaunard, and Eric Castro as Benoit/Alcindoro.

The acclaimed VOPA Orchestra, led by conductor Geoffrey Pope, will provide a traditional musical landscape to this fresh storytelling. Pope states that he's "excited to lead the exceptionally skilled and talented members of the VOPA Orchestra, and also to have students from the Birmingham Community Charter HS band participating as the onstage marching band in Act II". He adds that "having youth participate in opera in new and different ways provides many different paths to creating new opera lovers." Students will also be participating as a part of the "tech crew", working as backstage crew and with stage lighting.

La Boheme will be presented at Sally Field Performing Arts Center in Lake Balboa, CA, an intimate and comfortable theater space on the campus of Birmingham Community Charter HS. Performance dates are Friday September 29th at 7:30pm and Sunday October 1st at 3pm.

Tickets to La Boheme are available for purchase online https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2264493®id=9&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fvopaboheme.bpt.me?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1, by telephone at (747) 463-3358, or at the door on the day of the show. Visit www.VOPArts.org/events for more info.




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