‘La Boheme’ Preview

Cuddles and Rejection (Jillian, Vanessa) reduced Casey Koldewyn

Arguably the most renowned and popular opera in the classical genre, “La Boheme” is gracing the stage of Westminster this month.  This rich Italian opera depicts a story centered on the bohemian culture of early Paris, featuring two artists in particular as they navigate the artistic world.

Though the show is taking place at Westminster, it is not without University of Utah representation. The show is directed by David Schmidt, a professor in the U’s Theatre Department. Its chorus is comprised of U students Sam Stuck, Anna Robison, Alice Ryan, Arjana Sanfilippo, Caitlin Campbell, Zoe Killian, Rachel Brenneman, Madeline Slack, Amanda Smith, Burke Shoeppl and Alexander McConkie.

Composed by Giacomo Puccini, “La Boheme,” is based off of a book titled “Scenes de la vie de boheme” written by Henri Murger with libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. The play illustrates the general outlook and politics of the time and is well known for its imaginative feel.

Puccini’s four-act opera is filled with passion and whimsical notions, though a harsh undertone comes through in such themes as poverty, oppression and death.

Set in Paris in the 1840s, the play depicts the bohemian attitude of the era. The “live and let live” culture is evident throughout the loose storyline featuring artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo, two creative, young minds attempting to make due in their impoverished world. They are later accompanied by Mimi and Musetta, who subsequently become Marcello and Rodolfo’s love interests throughout the play. Friends Schaunard and Colline, a musician and philosopher respectively, also live an eccentric lifestyle and attempt to catch a break within the bohemian way of life. When a wealthy gentleman, Alcindoro makes an appearance, jealousy springs and relationships are complicated with ulterior motives and questionable ambition.

As the story progresses, love and jealousy unfold while relationships evolve. College students today are sure to find ways to relate.

The opera is sung in Italian with English subtitles traditionally shown via an onstage screen or program.

Putting their own flair into the iconic opera, Westminster is incorporating a new orchestral arrangement by Eric Schmidt into their performance of “La Boheme,” elevating the uniqueness and artistic flair of Puccini’s piece.

Sally Drutman will play flirtatious Musetta alongside Kai Pakulski as Alcindoro in this Schmidt-directed performance. “La Boheme” will be playing Jan. 19, 21, 26 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Vieve Gore Concert Hall on the Westminster Campus. The event is free for Westminster students, staff and faculty. It is $10 for the general public.

See their website to purchase tickets:

https://www.westminstercollege.edu/campus-life/events-and-performances/ensemble-performances/2017/01/20/public-events-calendar/westminster-opera-studio-presents-la-boh%C3%A8me

l.randall@dailyutahchronicle.com