May 12, 2012 Leave a comment
Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is as popular and reliable a seat-filler as you can get in opera. In Southern California alone, it has been programmed by both the Pacific Symphony and Los Angeles Opera within weeks of each other this spring. It shows up so often that opera-going veterans see La Bohème on the calendar and grumble and moan something like, “Ugh, not again,” the way the rest of the world wanted to throw something at speakers after the umpteenth rendition of “Pumped Up Kicks” polluted every clean parcel of broadcast airspace last summer.
One could therefore be easily lulled into a “been there, done that” attitude when this warhorse showed up on LA Opera’s season. That attitude may have been exacerbated with the knowledge that this is the sixth time the same production is being used by the company, and that the company’s Music Director isn’t going to be in the pit.
If that’s the way you feel, fight it and avoid the temptation to skip this production. If Wednesday night’s preview (see below*) is indicative of the run, there is everything to like about this Bohème: a beautiful production, staged intelligently, and populated by a talented young cast.