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Opera Modesto Staging Puccini’s La Bohème
Opera Modesto

Opera Modesto will produce Giacaomo Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, arguably the most performed and beloved opera in the world, filled with fun, romance, tragedy and incredible melodies.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini between 1893 and 1895 to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème (1851) by Henri Murger. The story is set in Paris around 1830 and shows the Bohemian lifestyle (known in French as “la bohème”) of a poor seamstress and her artist friends. It is part of the “verismo” style of opera in which the characters are “real people,” rather than gods, kings or magical creatures.

That dry description only barely touches the surface of this wonderful opera that somehow manages to charm, delight and move audiences of all ages and nationalities. It has inspired musicals (Rent and Moulin Rouge) and cartoons (The Simpsons), been featured in movies (Moonstruck) and its music frequently appears in movie scores. The famous arias (songs) are recognizable, exciting, and emotional. It is a great first opera or 100th opera.

La Bohème will be performed in the Mary Stuart Rogers Theater of the Gallo Center for the Arts on Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m., sung in the original Italian, with English supertitles. Both performances will be preceded by a free-with-admission Opera Insights Talk an hour before curtain, featuring Opera Modesto Music Director Ryan Murray and author Hillari Deschane – entertaining and informative and including behind the scenes tidbits of information.

Opera Modesto’s stellar cast includes fast rising young stars from New York, a charming children’s chorus, a small marching band of outstanding area high school instrumentalists, an acrobat, a stilt walker, a magician and even a tiny dog.

Puccini’s La Bohème contains some of the most-memorable arias and musical scenes in all of opera. It is renowned for its celebrated melodies and unforgettable characters. Puccini once said that his success came from putting “great sorrows in little souls.” His operas tell us that at some point in their lives, people everywhere, in all walks of life, endure the same trials: love and envy, loss and heartbreak, especially so in La Bohème.

There will be no COVID related protocols for entry, though any attendees who wish to wear masks are encouraged to do so. The performance of the four-act opera will last about 2 hours and 40 minutes, including one intermission and two brief intervals for set changes.

Artistic Team: The production will be directed by Opera Modesto Artistic Director, Annalisa Winberg, and conducted by Opera Modesto Music Director, Ryan Murray, with Chorus Director, Liisa Dávila, leading the community based chorus. The Children’s Chorus will be provided by Center Stage Kids, trained by Heather Vargas and Amy DeMoura.

The first time that Townsend Opera Players (now Opera Modesto) performed La Bohème, in 1986, the leading lady playing the role of Mimi was Annalisa Winberg (Opera Modesto Artistic Director), and the leading baritone, playing the role of Marcello was Roy Stevens (Opera Modesto General Director).

Tickets range from $20 to $89 and are available at (

Opera Modesto, in its 38th season as the professional opera company of the Central Valley, is proud to continue to present great operas in an accessible style, enjoyable for first time attendees as well as established opera lovers.