2 hours 30 minutes
One 20-minute intermission
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, Turin
Casual evening wear/Come as you are
Children under 6 are not permitted.
Rodolfo, a struggling poet, crosses paths with Mimì, a seamstress, and the two quickly fall head over heels in love. Their bliss is overshadowed when Rodolfo discovers that Mimì is seriously ill.
Faced with the realization that he cannot afford the necessary medical treatment for her, Rodolfo agonizingly decides to separate from Mimì. However, as her condition deteriorates, she finds her way back to Rodolfo's humble abode. They are happily reunited, but their future together is uncertain as the illness takes hold.
Public domain. Photo by A. Dupont.
Giacomo Puccini[n 1] (22 December 1858 – 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer known primarily for his operas. Regarded as the greatest and most successful proponent of Italian opera after Verdi, he was descended from a long line of composers, stemming to the late-Baroque era. Though his early work was firmly rooted in traditional late-19th-century Romantic Italian opera he later developed his work in the realistic verismo style, of which he became one of the leading exponents.
Archivio Storico Ricordi, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Luigi Illica (9 May 1857 – 16 December 1919) was an Italian librettist who wrote for Giacomo Puccini (usually with Giuseppe Giacosa), Pietro Mascagni, Alfredo Catalani, Umberto Giordano, Baron Alberto Franchetti and other important Italian composers. His most famous opera libretti are those for La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Andrea Chénier.
Illica was born at Castell'Arquato. His personal life sometimes imitated his libretti. The reason he is always photographed with his head slightly turned is because he lost his right ear in a duel over a woman. When silent films based on Illica's operas were made, his name appeared in large letters on advertisements because distributors could only guarantee that his stories would be used, and not that they would be accompanied by the music of the appropriate composer.
As a playwright of considerable quality, he is today remembered through one of Italy's oldest awards, the Luigi Illica International Prize founded in 1961, which goes to world famous opera singers, opera conductors, directors and authors. The Award is now awarded every two years and alternates with the Illica Opera Stage International Competition, which offers prizes and debut opportunities to young singers.
Giuseppe Giacosa was born in Colleretto Parella, now Colleretto Giacosa, near Turin. His father was a magistrate. Giuseppe went to the University of Turin, studying in the University of Turin, Faculty of Law. Though he gained a degree in law, he did not pursue a legal career.
He gained initial fame for his play Una Partita a Scacchi ("A Game of Chess") in 1871. His main field was playwriting, which he accomplished with both insight and simplicity, using subjects set in Piedmont and themes addressing contemporary bourgeois values. He wrote La signora di Challant (La Dame de Challant, The Lady of Challand), based on a novella by Matteo Bandello, for noted French actress Sarah Bernhardt, produced in New York in 1891.
Giacosa wrote the final polished version of the libretto for Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut, which had been begun by Ruggero Leoncavallo, Marco Praga, Domenico Oliva, and Luigi Illica. He also wrote the librettos used by Puccini for La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly in conjunction with Luigi Illica. Illica supplied the plot and dialogue, and Giacosa polished the libretto into verses. Also well as the one Act play of The rights of the soul".
Praised by The Washington Post for her dramatic intensity and vocal ability, soprano Shannon Jennings continues to wow critics and audiences alike. Most recently. she joined Palm Beach Opera where she sang Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte and covered Mimì in La bohème and Nedda in Pagliacci and returned to Wolf Trap Opera to sing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 in recital, the title role in Viardot’s Cendrillon and the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd. Other recent credits include Micaëla in Carmen and the title role in Tosca with Annapolis Opera. In 2022, she looks forward to reprising the role of Tosca with Opera Las Vegas and performing Mimì in La bohème with Newport Classical and Kentucky Opera.
A Capitol District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Jennings’ apprenticeships include Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program.
Arnold Livingston Geis, tenor, is a Southern California based international artist and performer. Recent appearances include Mr. Erlanson in A Little Night Music (Pasadena Playhouse), Carmina Burana (Oregon Symphony, LA Philharmonic), Faust in La damnation de Faust (Boston Youth Symphony), Rodolfo in La bohème (Greensboro Opera, Pacific Opera Project), Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and Tamino in The Magic Flute (Pacific Opera Project), Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde, tenor soloist in Steve Reich’s Traveler’s Prayer, tenor soloist in Chris Thile’s Attention! (LA Philharmonic), Haydn’s Creation (LA Master Chorale), and Mr. Marks in Intimate Apparel (Lincoln Center Theater). Geis has also been a featured soloist in popular film and TV shows like Disenchanted, Tom & Jerry, and Family Guy. Upcoming performances include Josef in Émigré (Shanghai Philharmonic, NY Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic), Carmina Burana (Phoenix Symphony, Erie Symphony), and The Last Days by Oliver Leith conducted by Thomas Adés (Los Angeles Philharmonic).
Soprano, Olivia Yokers is well regarded for her thrilling voice and versatility onstage. Her most notable roles include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (Dayton Opera, Tulane Summer Lyric, Utah Festival Opera), Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Dayton Opera, Chance Opera Theatre), and Miss Honey in Matilda (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma). Miss Yokers has performed as a solo artist with companies such as Virginia Opera, Dayton Artist Alliance, and Oklahoma City’s Canterbury Voices. Performing in oratorios such as the Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. As an advocate for new music, Ms. Yokers was a part of the debut of Before the Night Sky presented by Opera America New Opera Showcase. With Opera Las Vegas in 2022 Miss Yokers performed the role of Lily in the debut of Letters to Lily composed by Emily Clements.
Baritone André Chiang has been described as “vocally commanding” (Oregonian), “handsome of voice” (Opera News), and lauded with “let’s hear more from this singer” (Washington Post). Chiang’s recent engagements include Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi) with Opera Mississippi, Captain Smith (A Capacity for Evil) with Opera Las Vegas, and Clint (Fearless (workshop)) with Opera Delaware. Previous companies include Portland Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Glimmerglass Festival to name a few. Competition honors include Winner of the 2017 NFMC Biennial Young Artist Award and the 2018 NATS Artist Awards Competition. Chiang’s Carnegie Hall debut came as the Baritone soloist in the World Premiere of Martin Palmeri’s Gran Misa. Upcoming company engagements Landlocked Opera, Opera Las Vegas, Opera Western Reserve, Mobile Opera, and Opera Philadelphia.
As an educator, Chiang was a 2018 NATS Intern and a part of the first cohort of Pan American Vocology Association – Recognized Vocologists (PAVA-RV) in 2022. Upcoming presentations include the PAVA National Conference and the CMS National Conference both in Miami, FL. Chiang was the Artistic Director of Opera NexGen and currently Chairs the NFMC Young Artist Competition for Man’s Voice, Chairs the NATS Art Song Coalition and is Vice President of the Las Vegas Chapter of NATS, and is a board member of the Asian Opera Alliance. Chiang is an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an Instructor of Voice at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and runs a private online and in-person studio teaching acoustic and amplified styles. www.andrechiangbaritone.com
Praised as a "mature artist with a voluminous sound," baritone and composer Joel Balzun is establishing himself as a mature new voice in the future of music. His multi-faceted career has already led him to work with some of the world’s most respected musicians and ensembles. Highlights of his 2023-2024 season include his debut at Los Angeles Opera, Schaunard (La bohème) with Opera Las Vegas, works of Mozart with San Luis Obispo Master Chorale and a recital with Cincinnati Song Initiative. Other recent performance highlights include Marcello (La bohème) with Pacific Opera Project, Giorgio Germont (La traviata) with Opera Santa Barbara, works of Ralph Vaughan Williams with San Luis Obispo Master Chorale and numerous recitals featuring Black Dog by Tom Cipullo throughout Southern California.
From Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center, Mr. Balzun has appeared successfully on both the operatic and concert stages. As a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Balzun sang alongside Stephanie Blythe in a concert of American song, and Dawn Upshaw and Sanford Sylvan in Shostakovich's brooding Symphony No. 14. Other past appearances include the title roles in Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi, the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann, Prince Yeletskiy and Count Tomskiy (Pikovaya Dama), Albert (Werther), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore), Dr. Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Valentin (Faust), Sid (Albert Herring), and John Brooke (Adamo’s Little Women), among others. On the concert stage, Mr. Balzun has been a featured soloist in Copland's Old American Songs, Dvořák’s Te Deum, Fauré's Requiem, Haydn's The Creation, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and numerous cantatas of Bach. His acclaimed performance of Bach's Johannes-Passion with the Rochester Bach Festival was recently broadcast multiple times across the United States.
Bass-baritone Keith Colclough was praised in Opera News for his "rich authoritative" voice. He has been a soloist with a number of arts organizations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Opera Project, Opera Santa Barbara, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, LACMA Sundays Live, Salastina Society, and the Santa Barbara Choral Society. Past operatic roles include Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Doctor Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Publio in La Clemenza di Tito, and Peter Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His training includes vocal fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Opera Center, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany. An enthusiastic educator and scholar, Dr. Colclough serves as Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Opera at Pepperdine University, where his duties include private voice lessons, diction courses, and vocal and stage direction for the endowed Flora L. Thornton Opera Program.
Bass-baritone Paul Houghtaling has sung a diverse repertoire throughout the U.S. and abroad. Career highlights include the Philip Glass soundtrack to Reggio’s film Naqoyqatsi for SONY, on which he is a feature vocalist; several Carnegie Hall solo appearances with Cecelia Chorus of New York, American Composers Orchestra, and others; U.S. tours with the Waverly Consort, including Kennedy Center appearances; and “Opera Buffa: Comedy On Stage” on Lincoln Center’s “Meet the Artists” series. Recent seasons included Ko-Ko in The Mikado with Anchorage Opera, Natchez Opera, and Opera Saratoga; Sir Joseph in H.M.S. Pinafore for Nashville Opera; a return to Mobile Opera as stage director and Angelotti in Tosca; and his debut with Opera Birmingham as Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore. He has also appeared with the Central City, Baltimore, Boston Lyric, Knoxville, Long Beach, Natchez, Opera on the James, and Santa Fe Operas, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, among others, and has created roles in works by Philip Glass, Lee Hoiby, Michael Ching and others.
Praised for conducting with "steady acumen and considerable aplomb" and "awesome control” (Opera Today), Joshua Horsch is an extremely versatile operatic and symphonic conductor. A two-time winner of the American Prize in Opera Conducting, Joshua serves as Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Las Vegas. Joshua’s recent and upcoming conducting engagements include appearances with Atlanta Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Orlando, Opera Idaho, Opera Baltimore, Greensboro Opera, Mobile Opera, Pacific Opera Project, and Tri-Cities Opera. With a diverse repertoire of over sixty operas and a broad spectrum of orchestral and choral works, Joshua has recently held positions as a conductor and pianist/coach on the music staff of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Austin Opera, Detroit Opera, Florida Grand Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Saratoga, Pensacola Opera, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Newport Music Festival. Joshua studied conducting and piano at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Pennsylvania State University, and Ithaca College.
Stage director Octavio Cardenas captivates audiences with his visionary, visceral, and physical style of directing. Opera News has praised him for creating “an immersive theater experience” while the Dallas Morning News hailed him for bringing “every character and situation to life.” Recent projects include Traviata with Opera Las Vegas, Cruzar la cara de la Luna with Opera Santa Barbara, and the World Premiere of Zorro with Fort Worth Opera and Southwest opera. Barber of Seville with Opera Delaware, and Florencia en el Amazonas with Eastman Opera Theater.
Mr. Cardenas’ recent productions of Silent Night for Fort Worth Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City were described as “a breathtaking realization” with “many brilliant touches.” The Kansas City Star called the Lyric Opera’s production “one of its finest performances in recent memory.” Other recent productions include La boheme for Minnesota opera to which the Start Tribune acclaimed, “what makes the production a success, is Octavio Cardenas’ staging.” His production of As One for UrbanArias was acclaimed by MD Theater Guide, “Under the direction of Octavio Cardenas, the two stars playfully make great use of both stage and energetic space—it seemed the theatre condensed and expanded with Hannah’s journey.”
He has served as the Director of Baylor Opera, Director of Chapman Opera at Chapman University. Head of Directing Staff at Des Moines Metro Opera and has also been on the directing staff at Chautauqua Opera. Mr. Cardenas works at The Eastman School of Music as Professor of Opera where he recently directed Florencia en el Amazonas. Upcoming projects include Don Pasquale with Opera Omaha and Zorro with Opera Santa Barbara.