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Washington National Opera Mounts New Production of LA BOHEME, Beginning Tonight

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)-Washington National Opera (WNO) continues its 2014-2015 season with a new production of one of the most enduring classics in all of opera: Giacomo Puccini's La bohème, tonight, November 1-15 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Updating the story to post-World War I Paris, this brand-new production by Jo Davies features original stage direction by Peter Kazaras, both in their WNO debuts. WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin leads the WNO Orchestra in interpreting some of opera's most famous melodies. A special November 14 performance features casting by current singers and alumni of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.

Deep in the heart of Paris's Latin Quarter-where music and dancing swirl nightly at the Café Momus-Mimì, a lovely seamstress of delicate health, meets handsome poet Rodolfo. Eccentric singer Musetta flirts and feuds with painter Marcello. And Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, do their best to distract the landlord from the rent. Through jealous breakups and rekindled romances, rowdy celebrations, and tender tears, these six friends fight to keep their passions burning bright, hoping spring cures a tragic illness looming in their midst.

From Rodolfo's aching "Che gelida manina" to Mimì's tender "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì," to the riotous Café Momus scene featuring Musetta's famous waltz "Quando m'en vo," the music of La bohème is some of the most beloved in the repertory. The opera's appearances in popular culture are legion-from its centrality in the plot of the Academy Award®-winning film Moonstruck to its inspiration for the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent-making the story and its music instantly recognizable to even newcomers to opera.

Casting for WNO's new production of La bohème includes Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu and Siberian tenor Alexey Dolgov sharing the role of Rodolfo; both singers were last seen at WNO sharing the role of Edgardo in 2011's Lucia di Lammermoor. The role of Mimì is played by two singers in their WNO debuts: American soprano Corinne Winters, a native of Frederick, Maryland, who won raves for her portrayal of Violetta in Wolf Trap Opera Company's La traviata in 2013; and acclaimed Russian soprano Tatiana Monogarova, a mainstay of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre.

The cast also includes American baritone and former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Trever Scheunemann, last seen at WNO in this summer's world premiere of An American Soldier, as Marcello. Also appearing as Marcello is American baritone John Chest, who recently starred in several productions at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, including the title role in a new production of Billy Budd. Two American sopranos share the role of Musetta: WNO favorite Alyson Cambridge returns following her acclaimed run as Julie LaVerne in 2013's Show Boat, while Leah Partridge makes her WNO debut in the role following her celebrated run in the title role in Susannah this summer at Charlottesville's Ash Lawn Opera.

Australian bass Joshua Bloom and South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, a 2013 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, make their WNO debuts as Colline. American baritone and D.C. resident Steven LaBrie makes his WNO debut as Schaunard, sharing the role with American baritone Christian Bowers, a member of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Italian bass Donato DiStefano, last seen at WNO as Bartolo in 2009's The Barber of Seville, sings the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro.

WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin leads the WNO Orchestra for the first time this season. He will also present a master class featuring members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program on Thursday, November 6 (see page 5 of this press release for more information).

Later this season he conducts Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, and next season he will lead the orchestra in three complete cycles of Wagner's epic The Ring.

The creative team includes four artists making their WNO debuts: set designer Lee Savage, costume designer Jennifer Moeller, lighting designer Bruno Poet, and choreographer Ben Wright. Both Savage and Moeller have extensive credits at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC); in fact, a new production of The Tempest featuring scenic design by Savage opens at STC in December.

La bohème opens on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 7 p.m. and runs for 13 performances; other dates are November 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13, plus two performances on November 15. The special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performance is November 14. Visit WNO's website for complete production details and casting information.

Washington National Opera's 2014-2015 season also includes the company premiere of Rachel Portman's family opera The Little Prince, an English-language production of Poulenc's 20th-century drama Dialogues of the Carmelites, a revival of Wagner's epic The Flying Dutchman, and an acclaimed new-to-Washington staging of Rossini's Cinderella. A third season of the American Opera Initiative, including the world premiere of Penny by two alumni of the program, continues WNO's efforts to commission new works and expand the American repertory. More information can be found in the 2014-2015 season press release.

La bohème Performance and Ticket Information

Saturday, November 1 at 7 p.m. • Sunday, November 2 at 2 p.m. Tuesday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. • Wednesday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, November 8 at 7 p.m. Sunday, November 9 at 2 p.m. • Monday, November 10 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. • Thursday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 15 at 1:30 p.m. • Saturday, November 15 at 7 p.m.

Special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance:

Friday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $25 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. Subscription packages for the 2014-2015 season are also available and can be purchased online or by calling at (202) 416-8500.


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