SAN JOSE, CA — Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is a passionate story of love among young artists in Paris. Mimi spends her days embroidering and her winter evenings longing for springtime. Literally in search of light, a match for her only candle, she instead finds happiness and friendship with a band of impoverished bohemians – a poet, a philosopher, a painter, and a musician. Briefly, Mimì and Rodolfo make a place of love for themselves, until poverty prevails.
Based on the lives of bohemians, including Puccini himself, La Bohème rings true. Opera San José presents six performances of this beloved opera, sung in Italian with English supertitles, at the California Theatre from April 15-30. (Click here for event information.)
“I am excited to direct La Bohème for Opera San José,” said director, Michael Shell. “The opera will be set at the end of WWI, when Paris was delirious with optimism for the new century, when Nijinksy, Stravinsky, Picasso and Coco Channel were creating a new way of life in the most exciting city in the world.”
Introduction to Opera: General Director Larry Hancock will present a free 45-minute talk about the opera to ticket holders at the California Theatre before each performance. The talk begins at 6:30pm prior to evening performances and at 1:30pm prior to Sunday matinees. No reservations are required.
Joseph Marcheso, Opera San José’s music director and principal conductor, will conduct La Bohème. Mr. Marcheso most recently conducted February’s West Coast premiere of Puts and Campbell’s Silent Night and last season’s Carmen, and was commended by Michael Vaughn of Operaville for “leading the orchestra in a sumptuous reading of Bizet’s score, particularly in the delicate interplay of flute and harp (and later, exquisite swells of strings) in the Act 3 entre’acte.” Mr. Marcheso has conducted seventeen productions for Opera San José, including the world premiere of Mark Weiser’s Where Angels Fear to Tread during the 2014-15 season.
Michael Shell returns to direct La Bohème. He most recently directed the West Coast premiere of Puts and Campbell’s Silent Night. About that production, Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Director Michael Shell makes deft use of the crowded stage at the California Theatre to delineate the boundaries of the trenches and the way the soldiers manage to breach them.” Mr. Shell made his Opera San José debut as the director of Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers during the 2014-15 season. He has directed productions for the Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Michigan Opera Theater, to name a few, and has written and directed three cabarets, including All About Love and The Glamorous Life – A group therapy session for Opera Singers, both for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.