San Francisco Opera’s delightful production of La Bohème is the featured work on Classical KDFC this Sunday evening. Puccini’s endearing tale of two poverty-stricken young lovers in 19th century Paris is one of the world’s most popular operas – and good reason for why. Filled with love, passion, humor and heartbreak – it’s set to some of the most beautiful music ever written.
Last November, in a co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Canadian Opera Company, San Francisco Opera presented its audiences with a version of Bohème which featured some impressive new performers, alongside some more familiar – and well-loved – names, and it’s this production which is to be broadcast on Sunday.
Greek soprano Alexia Voulgaridou made her Company debut as Mimì – a role she has performed at venues such as La Scala, Milan; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Munich’s Bavarian State Opera and the Bregenz Festival. The Classical Review wrote of her “warm luminous tone and urgently communicative phrasing”, and The Opera Critic of the “big impression” she made, “portraying Mimì as both vulnerable and attractive as she charts her fatal demise with dignity”.
Rodolfo is sung by the “intensively expressive” (New York Times) tenor Michael Fabiano, 2014 winner of both the Richard Tucker and the Beverly Sills awards, the first person ever to win both in the same year. Musical Toronto referred to Mr Fabiano as “Fabulous …… A tenor that operatic dreams are made of”, and his performance of Rodolfo at Canadian Opera Company was described by La Scena Musicale as “simply sensational”.
American soprano Nadine Sierra sings Musetta. An Adler Fellow, Miss Sierra is the youngest winner to date of both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition.
As Marcello, Russian baritone Alexey Markov also made his Company debut last November. This is a role which he has also sung at the Metropolitan Opera, and which The New York Times described as “hearty, vocally virile and memorable”.
Christian Van Horn brings to the role of Colline a “wonderfully deep, chocolatey bass”, according to Operanews, and a “sturdy voice and commanding presence” (The New York Times). The Globe and Mail wrote that his “goodbye to his overcoat was a showstopper, as it’s supposed to be”.
The Role of Schaunard is sung by Adler Fellow Hadleigh Adams, who – at the Merola Opera Program’s 2014 Schwabacher Summer Concert – “deployed a robust, beautiful tone with both flexibility and power”, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
John Caird – winner of Tony Awards for Les Misérables and Nicholas Nickleby – made his debut with San Francisco Opera as Director of this production of La Bohème, and Resident Conductor Guiseppe Finzi leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
La Bohème was written in 1895, with libretto by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa, and first performed in Turin on February 1, 1896. It was based on a work by French novelist and poet, Henri Murger – Scènes de la vie de bohème – in which he wrote about a lifestyle he knew well. He based the character of Rodolfo on himself, and the others on friends of his – fun-loving students who had a healthy disregard for authority, but who had to deal with some sadness in their lives as well.
La Bohème is broadcast on Classical KDFC at 8.00 pm on Sunday, August 2nd. For information on tuning frequencies, or to listen online, visit www.kdfc.com