Lessons of love, dreams and tragedy from La Bohème
Alixandra Caole Vila (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2014 - 5:36pm

MANILA, Philippines - On September 16, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème in high definition video and full Dolby sound was relaunched at the Greenbelt 3 Cinema 1.

The screenings of the latest operatic productions by the Metropolitan Opera through digital technology was made possible by The Cultural Center of the Philippines, the New York Met Opera and the Filipinas Opera Society Foundation Inc. in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas and Greenbelt.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on Feb. 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then, La Bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. 

La Boheme transports us to the city of love. The story revolves around four characters - Marcello (Massimo Cavaletti), Rodolfo (Vittorio Grigolo), Colline (Oren Gradus), and Schaunard - who are aspiring to establish a good reputation in Paris by reaching their dreams. It is almost comparable to “How I Met Your Mother” in modern times, except that all the characters were singing and the setting is in the late 19th century.

Their attempts to play with their fate to achieve what they were aiming for is very amusing. But wouldn’t it be a bore if the story would just evolve around their dreams? Adding to the excitement of the plot is their chaotic love stories, focusing on Rodolfo’s.

The story starts when the poet Rodolfo met the frail but beautiful young seamstress, Mimi (Kristine Opolais) on a Christmas eve. The two both fell in love with each other instantaneously.  The ‘love at first sight angle of the story was demonstrated powerfully and convincingly through the singing prowess of the two actors.

Half of the opera showed the struggles of Rodolfo’s and Mimi’s on-and-off relationship, coupled by the troubles and constant fights between the painter Marcello, and his vixen girlfriend Musetta (Susanna Phillips).

Things got a lot more tragic when it was found out that Mimi was suffering from tuberculosis. She then breathes her last breath at the threadbare apartment of Rodolfo, where they first met.

Bohème  embraces the splendid and frenzied happiness of being young and the fiery passion of young love. But it also shows that no matter how much happiness youthfulness and love bring, sooner or later, reality would come barging on your doors, shattering all those glasses that refrain you from seeing the bitterness of reality – that life does not last (as shown by Mimi’s death) and adulthood is really not that easy.

No matter what you do during your lifetime, no one will live forever.

Bohème is not only supported by talented cast of vocalists. They are put over the top by singers who truly know how to act and to convey the inner essence of each character.

Other scheduled screenings of Met Opera productions for this season are:

  • October 14, 2014 -  Rigoletto
  • November 18, 2014 -  Rusalka
  • December 16, 2014 -  Othello 
  • January 13, 2015 La Bohème
  • February 10, 2015 -   Werther  
  • March 3, 2015 -  Enchanted Island


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