New premiere 22 April 2010.
Opera. After great public success last season we would now like to let even more people make the acquaintance of one of the world’s best-loved operas.
Opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
This work about four young artists’ struggle for their daily bread in Paris at the turn of the century, as well as the love story between the seamstress Mimì who suffers from a lung disease and the poet Rodolfo, will never cease to captivate its audience. As well as containing absolute charms of operatic literature such as “What a cold little hand” and “They call me Mimì” and Musetta’s waltz aria, it also poses important questions about what it means to be a grown-up, to take one’s responsibility and to accept the conditions of reality in order to survive.
"Sensitive and beautiful." Borås Tidning
"GöteborgsOperan is in top form." GP
"Yet more proof of greatness is presented in Gothenburg." Radio Sjuhärad
"Once again GöteborgsOperan shows their flair and ability to recruit new rising singers of great talent." GT
"These characters and their passions are convincing." Aftonbladet
"A performance that moves you with its sensitivity, music and fantastic soloists." Radio Sjuhärad
"An absolutely splendid performance." Aftonbladet
"Both moving and pleasant." DN
Watch pictures from the performance.
A number of the young production team that produced La Bohème did their first production at GöteborgsOperan: director Elisabeth Linton, scenographer Astrid Lynge Ottosen and costume designer Magdalena Stenbeck. In their version they brought out the characters and put the drama centre stage.
Bülent Bezdüz and Fredrik Zetterström return as the bohemians Rodolfo and Marcello, while Marika Schönberg plays Mimì. She is Swedish but has spent the majority of her career at the opera in Leipzig. Marcello’s temperamental fiancée Musetta is portrayed by The Göteborg Opera’s own Carolina Sandgren.
Watch a clip from the performance 2008/2009.
From the story description in the programme.
It is Christmas Eve and cold in Marcello’s attic flat. Rodolfo is sulky because his manuscript has been rejected once again and Marcello is not making any progress with his painting. Colline arrives, also sulky but in his case because the pawnshop is closed. None of them have any money and the prospects for Christmas are dismal. When Schaunard appears the atmosphere improves. He has managed to earn a bit of money and brings wine, delicacies, firewood and cigars with him.
Benoit, the landlord, can sense the smell of money and turns up to collect the rent. With the help of wine, flattery and shrewdness they manage to get rid of him and go off to celebrate Christmas in the Latin Quarter. Rodolfo, however, has to finish writing an article and stays behind. The neighbor, Mimì knocks on the door; her candle has gone out and she asks for a light. Rodolfo is reluctant to let her go again. When Mimì happens to drop the key to her flat and Rodolfo finds it, he lends fate a helping hand and hides the key even better. Hands and hearts meet in the dark and time comes to a halt…They are interrupted by calls from their impatient friends in the street below and after a while Rodolfo and Mimì decide to join them and go to Café Momus.
Down in the street everybody is in high spirits and the Christmas rush is at a peak. Shops and cafes are teeming with revellers celebrating the festive season, the last items are being bought and the feast has begun. The rest of Schaunard’s money is there for the spending and their favourite café Momus is there for the taking. Rodolfo buys Mimì a special token of his love and introduces her to his friends, who tease him. Marcello’s loved one, Musetta, arrives with her new protector and lover Alcindoro and Marcello is consumed with jealousy. However, Musetta has already tired of Alcindoro and starts flirting with Marcello, who tries to resist but fails. The friends move on to mingle with the Christmas crowds, intoxicated with champagne, love and friendship.
The remainder of the story can be read in the programme which is for sale in the ticket office and foyer.
Bohème on CD – A Personal Selection
Anyone who wants to browse among recordings of Bohème has an almost limitless selection to choose from. The one that is perhaps most frequently mentioned among connoisseurs and that remains an unsurpassable classic is that of Thomas Beecham from 1956 on EMI. In this recording we hear an absolutely magnificent harmony with Jussi Björling at his very best together with a young Victoria de Los Angeles. Robert Merrill, Jussi’s long-standing singing colleague, complements the two as a gorgeously gravelly Marcello.
A few years later Tullio Serafin in Rome conducts an all-Italian ensemble for Decca. Renata Tebaldi does a moving Mimì, Carlo Bergonzi has an almost unlimited amount of feeling for style as Rodolfo, and Gianna d’Angelo is a wonderfully saucy Musetta. This is perhaps the recording that sounds the most Italian of all.
On Decca there is also Herbert von Karajan’s recording from the seventies with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti are at their absolute peak, and as an extra luxury you get the bass voice of Nicolai Ghiaurov as Colline. This is probably the recording I would recommend if you want to have stereo sound.
At about the same time Georg Soltis came out on RCA, a fine recording that tends to be forgotten nowadays. Montserrat Caballé’s flowing singing as Mimì literally takes one’s breath away, with her wonderful pianissimo nuances. Her Rodolfo is a harmonious Plácido Domingo.
At the beginning of the eighties Katia Ricciarelli and José Carreras recorded these roles at Philips under the direction of Colin Davis. They both sound very young and fresh, and on the whole this is a very youthful and vital recording. Also, there are not less than two Swedes in the cast: Ingvar Wixell as Marcello and Håkan Hagegård as Schaunard, and they both do an excellent job of defending the Swedish colours.
The latest in the number of Bohème recordings, of which only a fraction have been mentioned here, is Bertrand de Billy’s, performed in Munich for Deutsche Grammophon. It was released this year and presents the superstars Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón.
Finally: if one would like to make the acquaintance of Leoncavallo’s Bohème, there is a splendid recording by Orfeo. Heinz Wallberg conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with Lucia Popp and Franco Bonisolli in the leading roles.