Through the collaboration of the BYU-Idaho Theatre and Music Departments, La Bohème, an opera by Giacomo Puccini, is available for audiences to experience, according to the Theatre Department’s Web page.
“On the surface, it appears to be a simple love story,” said Richard Clifford, director and associate dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts. “But as I work a little more there are a couple themes that stick out to me. One is making the most of the little things.”
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines Bohemian as a person who lives an alternative lifestyle.
Every generation has a Bohemian culture, Clifford said.
“Maybe if you believe opera isn’t your thing, this is a good place to start,” Clifford said. “This is a great story to begin with, and we have made it as accessible as possible.”
There have been numerous adaptations of La Bohème, including the movie Moulin Rouge! and the Broadway musical Rent, according fandomania.com.
“I think that it is one of the most approachable operas,” Clifford said. “It is not about gods and kings and things that seem to be out of our regular things. It is about real people.”
La Bohème provides a lens for the audience to examine themselves through, Clifford said.
Puccini’s four-act opera centers around the 1830s love story between Rodolfo, a poet and Mimi, a seamstress with what appears to tuberculosis, and how it affects his friends, Marcello, a painter; Colline, a philosopher; Schaunard, a musician; and Musetta, Marcello’s ex-girlfriend, according to fandomania.com.
The role of Marcello will be played by Sam Chiba, a senior studying music who has been in other performance on campus.
“Once it was produced, it has not left our mainstream,” said Cathryn Betz, a senior studying English. “La Bohème is the original, better version.”
Betz has been involved with the BYU-I production since last July.
She said her ability to organize helped her qualify for the stage manager position in the school’s production of La Bohème.
“La Bohème is going to be rather epic,” Betz said. “I hope they give it a chance, because it is going to be worth it.”
The hope is the audience will gain an appreciation for a new art form, Clifford said.
“There is so much depth and realism in the opera,” Chiba said.
Betz said even though they have been working on the opera every night for several weeks now, they still love the work involved in producing an opera and are learning new things.
La Bohème gives the audience a chance to feel, Chiba said.
Betz said the theatre is a safe place to see others go through hard things without being in true peril, while still exposing the audience to the idea of personal mistakes.
He said mistakes are real, but it is the mistakes that help people to grow.
“Take a chance,” Clifford said. “Come and see the show.”
La Bohème runs March 18, 20-21, 24-25 and 27, in the Snow Drama Theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students and $6 for patrons.
“Opera is not just a large Norse Valkyrie woman with horns on her head that is singing a lot,” Chiba said. “It is an art form, sublime and real.”