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Friday, September 24, 2010

La Boheme @ Utah Opera (SLC: Oct 16 - 24)

 Contact: Jana Cunningham, (801) 869-9027

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                    
September 23, 2010
      Utah opera Opens 2010-11 Season with Puccini’s La Bohème

Romance and tragedy unfold in Bohemian Paris in this popular opera set in the 1930’s

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Opera will open the 2010-11 season with Puccini’s La Bohème at Capitol Theatre on October 16, 18, 20 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and October 24 at 2:00 p.m. The Utah Symphony will accompany Utah Opera in each performance, conducted by Leonardo Vordoni (Utah Opera debut) and directed by Crystal Manich (Utah Opera debut). The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

            Originally written to be set in the 19th century, Utah Opera has set this production 1939 Paris. The opera follows a group of young bohemians on the verge of adulthood, eager to fall in love forever, refusing to recognize illness or pain. With emotion-filled melodies and some of the greatest arias ever written, La Bohème will transport the audience to the joys and sorrows of young adulthood.

            With two twenty-minute intermissions, approximate final curtain will be 9:50 p.m. for evening performances and 4:20 p.m. for the matinee.

            Karen Brookens will deliver a free Opera Preview Lecture on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the 4th floor meeting room of the Salt Lake City Library. Associate Professor and head of the voice area at Weber State University, Dr. Brookens has appeared in opera and concert performances throughout the United States and Canada

            Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Questions and Answers session immediately following each performance in the Founders room on the mezzanine level at Capitol Theatre. 

Tickets start at $15 and can be can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (355-2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office, the Capitol Theatre box office or by visiting www.usuo.org.  Subscribers and those desiring group or student discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (533-6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 day of performance.

La Bohéme
Composed by Giacomo Puccini Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica

Marcello                                                                       Keith Phares
Rodolpho                                                                     Gerard Powers
Colline                                                                          Derrick Parker
Schaunard                                                                    Brent Reilly Turner
Benoit                                                                          Ryan Allen
Mimí                                                                            Laquita Mitchell
Parpignol                                                                      AJ Glueckert
Musetta                                                                        Celena Shafer
Alcindoro                                                                     Ryan Allen

Conductor                                                                    Leonardo Vordoni
Director                                                                        Crystal Manich
Set Designer                                                                 Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer                                                        Susan Memmott-Allred
Lighting Designer                                                          Nicholas Cavallaro
Wigs and Make-up Designer                                        Jennifer Lloyd
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston


ACT I. Paris, Christmas Eve, c. 1939. In their Latin Quarter garret, the painter Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo's latest drama. They are joined by their comrades — Colline, a young philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician who has landed a job and brings food, fuel and funds. But while they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, arrives to collect the rent. Plying the older man with wine, they urge him to tell of his flirtations, then throw him out in mock indignation. As the friends depart for a celebration at the nearby Café Momus, Rodolfo promises to join them soon, staying behind to finish writing an article. There is another knock: a neighbor, Mimì, says her candle has gone out on the drafty stairs. Offering her wine when she feels faint, Rodolfo relights her candle and helps her to the door. Mimì realizes she has dropped her key, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. In the moonlight the poet takes the girl's shivering hand, telling her his dreams. She then recounts her solitary life, embroidering flowers and waiting for spring. Drawn to each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave for the café.

ACT II. Amid shouts of street hawkers, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet near the Café Momus before introducing her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. A toy vendor, Parpignol, passes by, besieged by children. Marcello's former lover, Musetta, enters ostentatiously on the arm of the elderly, wealthy Alcindoro. Trying to regain the painter's attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity. Complaining that her shoe pinches, Musetta sends Alcindoro to fetch a new pair, then falls into Marcello's arms. Joining a group of marching soldiers, the Bohemians leave Alcindoro to face the bill when he returns.

ACT III. At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a Customs Officer admits farm women to the city. Musetta and revelers are heard inside a tavern. Soon Mimì walks by, searching for the place where the reunited Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter emerges, she pours out her distress over Rodolfo's incessant jealousy. It is best they part, she says. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, is heard, and Mimì hides; Marcello thinks she has left. The poet tells Marcello he wants to separate from his fickle sweetheart. Pressed further, he breaks down, saying Mimì is dying; her ill health can only worsen in the poverty they share. Overcome, Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell as Marcello runs back into the tavern to investigate Musetta's raucous laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall their happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello. The painter and his mistress part in fury, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring.

ACT IV. Some months later, Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness in the garret. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. The four stage a dance, which turns into a mock fight. The merrymaking is ended when Musetta bursts in, saying Mimì is downstairs, too weak to climb up. As Rodolfo runs to her, Musetta tells how Mimì has begged to be taken to her lover to die. While Mimì is made comfortable, Marcello goes with Musetta to sell her earrings for medicine, and Colline leaves to pawn his cherished overcoat. Alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first days together, but she is seized with coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimì dies quietly, and when Schaunard discovers she is dead, Rodolfo runs to her side, calling her name.


Ryan Allen
Benoit/Alcindoro (Texas)
Previously at Utah Opera, La Bohème
La Cenerentola, Belleayre Music Festival;
La Bohème, Portland Opera;
Regina, Des Moines Metro Opera

Laquita Mitchell
Mimí (New York)
Utah Opera Debut
Donna Elvira, Opera New Jersey;
Master Class, Kennedy Center for the Arts;
Mozart Solemn Vespers and Vivaldi Gloria, Carnegie Hall
Bess, Atlanta Opera 

AJ Gleuckert
Parpignol (Oregon)
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
Les contes d'Hoffmann, Santa Fe Opera;
Otello, Oakland East Bay Symphony;
Lucia di Lammermor, San Francisco Lyric Opera;
Wozzeck, Ensemble Parallele;
Apprentice Program, Santa Fe Opera;
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Sacramento Symphony, Santa Clara Symphony
La Bohéme, Utah Opera;
Falstaff, Utah Opera

Derrick Parker
Bass-Baritone (Georgia)
Utah Opera, La Cenerentola, The Gondoliers, Giulio Cesare
Porgy and Bess, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Bernstein’s Mass, Virginia Arts Festival, Utah Symphony
Haydn’s Paukenmesse, Santa Barbara Symphony
Handel’s Messiah, Memphis Symphony
Bach’s Mass in B minor, Indianoplois Symphonic Choir
Verdi’s Requiem, Yakima Symphony

Keith Phares

Marcello (Pennsylvania)
Previously at Utah Opera, Ariadne auf Naxos

Three Decembers, Central City Opera;

Così fan tutte, Portland Opera;

Elmer Gantry, Florentine Opera;

Il Barbière di Siviglia, Washington National Opera

Carmina Burana, San Francisco Symphony;

Flight, Austin Lyric Opera

Gerard Powers
Tenor (New York)
Previously at Utah Opera, La Rondine
Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Boston Lyric Opera;
La Rondine, San Francisco Opera;
Carmen, Bolshoi Opera
Madama Butterfly, Opera Omaha

Celena Shafer
Soprano, (Missouri)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Don Pasquale 2009
Albert Herring, The Santa Fe Opera
Mozart Requiem, Phoenix Symphony
Le Rossignol, Atlanta Symphony in Atlanta and at Carnegie Hall

Leonardo Vordoni
Conductor (Italy)
Utah Opera Debut
Barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Colorado;
Le Nozze di Figaro, Lyric Opera of Chicago;
Mose' in Egitto, Chicago Opera Theater
Turandot, Portland Opera;
Cenerentola, Canadian Opera Company;
Barbiere di Siviglia, Houston Grand Opera

Crystal Manich
Stage Director (Texas)
Utah Opera Debut
Madama Butterfly, Buenos Aires Lírica, Argentina
Rinaldo, Pittsburgh Opera


Jana Cunningham
Public Relations Manager
801.869.9027 office
801.244.1892 cell

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