Sounds of La Boheme to fill Shannon Hall this weekend

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In Act 2 of UW Opera’s production of La Bohéme, the character of Musetta, played by Claire Powling, sings “Musetta’s Waltz” during the final dress rehearsal at Shannon Hall in the Wisconsin Union Theater. Video by Jeff Miller

For the first time since its 2014 renovation, an opera will be performed in Wisconsin Union Theater’s Shannon Hall this weekend.

On February 23, 24 and 25University Opera, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Union Theater, will present a special production of Giacomo Puccini’s  masterpiece, La Bohèmeat the hall. It’s the first time in more than 15 years that University Opera has staged a production at the Union Theater, which was built in 1928.

University Opera’s production sets La Bohème in 1925 Paris, the period called les années folles, “the crazy years” – France’s version of the Roaring Twenties. Photo by: Jeff Miller

The characters of Mimi, played by Yanzelmalee Rivera, and Rodolfo, played by José Muñiz, sing during a final dress rehearsal UW Opera's production of La Bohéme at Shannon Hall in the Wisconsin Union Theater. Photo by: Jeff Miller

Mimi and Rodolfo sing as they walk off stage as the curtain closes during a final dress rehearsal for Act 3 of UW Opera's production of La Bohéme. Photo by: Jeff Miller

Conducted by interim UW–Madison Director of Orchestras, Chad Hutchinson, and directed by Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera, David Ronis, the production will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.  It will take full advantage of the many upgrades to Shannon Hall, in particular, the expanded orchestra pit which will accommodate the UW–Madison Symphony Orchestra.

The opera tells the story of Rodolfo and Mimi, a penniless poet and a seamstress, who fall in love and suffer through heartbreak and tragedy.  Along for the ride are Rodolfo’s fellow starving artist buddies, Marcello, Schaunard, and Colline, as well as Marcello’s sassy yet bighearted girlfriend, Musetta,

“We’re so excited to be presenting this timeless, heart-wrenching story against the backdrop of the vibrant cultural and artistic milieu of Paris in the 1920s,” says director David Ronis.  “The environment is a natural fit for generating the emotionally charged performances that really make La Bohème so fulfilling to see.”

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