April 11, 2017

Press Release: La Bohème Returns to Portland Opera

On May 5, one of the most tender love stories of all time will transform the Keller Auditorium stage into 1830s Paris for Puccini’s La Bohème. This all-time favorite will come to life with traditional scenery and costumes that will sing to both those who are new to opera and to those who know Puccini’s blockbuster by heart.

La Bohème is a cherished staple of opera lovers the world over,” says General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “Giacomo Puccini is immensely popular with audiences throughout the world. He’s well known for the soaring melodies, great sense of theater, and rich, atmospheric orchestrations of masterpieces such as Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Turandot, and, of course, La Bohème.”

La Bohème is based on Henri Murger’s novel, “Scenes from the Bohemian Life.” Set in the frigid cold of a Paris winter in the 1830s, it follows the loves and fortunes of a small group of friends: the poet, Rodolfo, the seamstress Mimi, the painter Marcello, the musician Schaunard, the philosopher Colline, and the coquette, Musetta.

La Bohème was also the inspiration behind the huge Broadway hit musical Rent. In addition, due to its popularity, the music from La Bohème has appeared in numerous films including “Atonement”, “Moonstruck”, “The Boondock Saints”, “The Great Caruso” and “Mimi”, a 1935 British film starring Gertrude Lawrence and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Portland Opera’s production features the debut of Vanessa Isiguen, credited for her “enormous skill and sly charm,” as Mimi; former Portland Opera Resident Artist Jennifer Forni (Micaëla, Carmen [2015] and Tatiana, Eugene Onegin [2016]) as Musetta; the American debut of the exciting Italian tenor Giordano Lucá as Rodolfo; and, also making his Portland Opera debut, the “eloquent” and “commanding” Will Liverman as Marcello.

Making her directorial debut with Portland Opera is Kathleen Belcher, a regular at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Opera. The New York Times praises her for “pitch-perfect interpretation,” San Francisco Classical Voice hails her direction as “exceptional,” and San Francisco Chronicle calls her work “studded with imaginative and telling details.”

Portland Opera’s esteemed Music Director George Manahan will conduct Puccini’s lush and intricate score. His work on the podium conducting this piece has been described as “full of fire.” Among Manahan’s television credits is the New York City Opera’s performance of La Bohème which was broadcast on PBS in 2000.

Sung in Italian with English text projected above the stage.

Mimì                                        Vanessa Isiguen
Musetta                                   Jennifer Forni
Rodolfo                                   Giordano Lucá
Marcello                                  Will Liverman
Colline                                     Christian Zaremba
Benoit                                      Deac Guidi
Alcindoro                                Damien Geter
Schaunard                                Ryan Thorn
Parpignol                                 Aaron Short

Stage Director                         Kathleen Belcher
Conductor                               George Manahan
Lighting Designer                    York Kennedy


Production sponsors for La Bohème include M&T Bank, and Henry P. and Trudy Ritz. Additional supporters include: The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, RACC, Work for Art, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and The Collins Foundation.

PRICE:                        Starting at $28 per regular ticket
PHONE:                     503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737, M-F, 9-5
Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends)
IN-PERSON:             Portland Opera, 211 SE Caruthers St. (south of OMSI, east of Water.) M-F, 9-5
All Ticketmaster Outlets


Media Contact:  
Mary Agnew