Virginia Opera Returns to the Center with La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers

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The Center for the Arts’ 2021-2022 Season continues on November 13 and 14 with Virginia Opera’s production of La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers, an intriguing adaptation of Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera. Premiered in Turin, Italy in 1896, the original La Bohème has been applauded as a musical and theatrical masterpiece for generations, currently being one of the four most-performed operas across the world and inspiration for many well-known productions, such as Jonathan Larson's 1996 Tony-Award winning musical RENT. The opera’s traditional version has been a longtime favorite of Virginia Opera and its audiences, with its newest rendition being the eighth production of La Bohème by the Virginia Opera company since its first in 1975. 

Raquel González as Mimi and Matthew Vickers as Rodolpho in La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers. Ben Schill Photography. ​

La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers runs nearly a half an hour under La Bohème’s traditional runtime, and provides a fresh take for its audiences. The familiar love story of poet Rodolfo and Mimi, a poor seamstress, depicts the free-spirited lifestyle of mid-19th century artistic Bohemians of which Rodolfo and Mimi are a part. Scenes proceed as a series of Rodolfo’s memories of his previous lovestruck encounter with the lovely, but ill-fated, Mimi.

On October 18, Josh Borths joined La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers’s Director Keturah Sickmann for a discussion of La Bohème’s historical and musical context, as well as what makes Virginia Opera’s newest adaption so special. Let’s Talk Opera with Josh Borths can be accessed on Virginia Opera’s Youtube or Facebook page.

The conversation explores behind-the-scenes details of developing this new adaptation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which posed challenges such as social distancing guidelines that required actors to remain 15 feet apart and not allow actors to touch one another. Director Sickmann notes the timeliness of this particular rendition of La Bohème, stating, “We found a way to resonate with what we are all going through. We have all mourned people who have died way too early. We have all been separated from people we want nothing more than to touch. We have all been living in our memories of what we used to do and have. We are living in a time of remembrance.”

Company members of La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers at the Center for the Arts November 13 and 14. Ben Schill Photography.

Additionally, patrons attending La Bohème at the Center for the Arts will have another opportunity to hear more about the production history and development during pre-performance discussions with Virginia Opera Artistic Director Adam Turner, beginning 45 minutes before the performance in Monson Grand Tier. 

Learn more and get tickets for Virginia Opera’s production of La Bome: Rodolfo Remembers

Evelyn Kiley, a longtime Friend of the Center for the Arts, contributed to this article.

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