CT Lyric Opera and Virtuosi to open new production of La Bohème this May

Photo from the Dress Rehearsal - April 29th 2015 - Trinity-On-Main Arts Center

Throughout the month of May, the Connecticut Lyric Opera and the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra will close its 2014-2015 season with Puccini’s popular tearjerker “La Boheme”, an opera based upon the famous French novel and play “Scenes de la Vie de Boheme” by Henri Murger. Composed in 1896, this “slice of life” view of 1800’s Paris was also the inspiration for composer Leoncavallo (of “Pagliacci” fame), and even the recent Broadway musical “Rent”.
It’s basic story line is timeless and universal. It can take place in any major city, and during any century. Four young guys, all struggling in the “starving arts” world of poets, artists, actors, etc., all splitting an apartment to survive – haven’t most of us been there at some point in our youth, or known someone who has? The bittersweet love story between ardent Rodolfo and the dying Mimi is perhaps the saddest (and most melodic) of any in opera, and it is a well known fact that Puccini actually broke down and cried when he composed this masterpiece and his later “Suor Angelica”.
Vocally and dramatically, Mimi is by far the easiest of all the Puccini heroines to sing and act, yet she has enjoyed the most impressive performance history of any of them within the state of Connecticut. During the ‘60’s and ‘70’s (for the now defunct Connecticut Opera), four of the greatest superstar sopranos of that era – Mirella Freni, Montserrat Caballe, Gabriella Tucci and Anna Moffo, all in their primes, appeared in Hartford as the consumptive little seamstress, such is the allure of the role. Their giant footsteps will now be followed by the thriving Connecticut Lyric Opera’s two favorite sopranos, resident diva Jurate Svedaite and West Hartford native Kathleen Callahan-Hardman, who shared memorable performances of Butterfly for this company last season.
The poet Rodolfo will be sung by CLO’s resident tenor Daniel Juarez, his roommate Marcello by Connecticut’s favorite baritone Luke Scott, and the up-and-coming Heather O’Connor will romp as the flirtatious Musetta. Maestro Adrian Sylveen, artistic director of the company, will conduct his sterling Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra in all four performances.
The production will open at New Britain’s Trinity-on-Main on May 1 and proceed to Hartford’s new Infinity Hall on May 3. Future performances include New London’s Garde Theater May 15, and finally May 29 at MHS’s Performing Arts Center in Middletown. For tickets / info, please visit ctlyricopera.org or the virtuosi.org, or call 860-351-3135.

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