On Saturday, February 7th, SASAH students had the opportunity to see UWOpera’s production of Puccini’s opera, La Boheme. As someone who comes from a theatre background, I can honestly say that opera is one of the most impressive art forms out there. You need the perfect mixture of talented singers, actors, musicians, designers, directors, conductors and technicians to be able to pull it off. There are few art forms that require this intense level of collaboration, which is one of the reasons that opera is so rewarding to work on and to watch. This production in particular boasted a strong cast as well as spectacular lighting and set design, done by some of London’s theatre locals.
Another amazing thing about opera is the integration of complex music with beautiful, poetic libretto. La Boheme is also interesting from a cultural standpoint, as it takes the opportunity to tell the stories of a group of “bohemians” instead of focusing on the higher echelons of society, as opera often does. While watching the production, I was also thinking about the Broadway musical RENT, which is based off of Puccini’s opera. Besides noticing the obvious comparisons in plot, I found myself thinking about Jonathan Larson (creator of RENT) and what his experience must have been when he sat down to watch La Boheme for the first time. What made him realize that what he was seeing onstage was still a relevant, important story to tell? What moments struck him as poignant enough to want to carry over to his own work, and why? Getting to see La Boheme in this context reminded me to keep my mind open as I expose myself to art, literature, and life, and always to be ready to interpret the stories I’m being told in different ways.