La bohème

by Giacomo Puccini • High in a Paris garret, a candle sputters out. And, as two strangers fumble in the dark, the spark of love is unexpectedly ignited. Puccini’s passionate and timeless masterpiece is presented in a beloved period production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and Peter J. Hall. Starring soprano Ana María Martínez as Mimi and tenor Bryan Hymel as Rodolfo at the head of an all-star international cast. This witty and romantic celebration of life lived “on the fringe” will be staged by Peter Kazaras and conducted by Riccardo Frizza in his company debut. There’s a little bohemian in all of us; isn’t it time you rediscovered yours?

Starring Ana María MartínezBryan HymelDavinia RodriguezJonathan BeyerAlexander VinogradovSteven LaBrie

Conductor Riccardo Frizza • Director Peter Kazaras

Family Rating Adult themes, onstage death. Rated PG

Opera in Brief

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On Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter of Paris, Marcello and Rodolfo are distracted from their work by the cold. Marcello threatens to burn a chair, but Rodolfo sacrifices his manuscript. Colline returns. Schaunard enters with food, wine, firewood and money. He tries to tell of his performance for an English lord’s dying parrot, but his story is drowned by merriment. Their landlord comes seeking rent. Benoit is coaxed into boasting of his conquests. The friends feign shock and eject him without payment. Schaunard proposes supper at Café Momus. The money is divided and all depart except Rodolfo, who pleads “five minutes” to write. A knock at the door is a neighbor whose
candle has blown out. She faints and drops her key. Rodolfo, captured by her fragile beauty, revives her and lights her candle. He finds her key and pockets it to prolong the encounter. When their hands touch, his exclamation of their coldness (Che gelida manina) expands to an explanation of his occupation and artistic vision. She introduces herself (Si. Mi chiamano Mimì) and speaks of how embroidering flowers reminds her of spring. He tells Mimì of his blossoming love (O soave fanciulla), which she returns. They leave to join the others.

In the square in front of Café Momus, vendors hawk their wares. Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet; Colline buys a book; Schaunard a horn. Mimì is introduced and a lavish dinner ordered. Musetta, Marcello’s former love, enters with the old but rich Alcindoro and take an adjoining table. Trying to arouse Marcello’s interest, Musetta sings of her
attractiveness (Quando me’n vo). She feigns a problem with her shoe and sends Alcindoro to the cobbler so she can join Marcello. Nobody has money to pay the bill, so Musetta tells the waiter to combine it with Alcindoro’s bill. They carry Musetta offstage just as Alcindoro returns with new shoes. He is presented with the shocking total.

On a cold February morning, Mimì comes to the tavern to ask Marcello’s advice on handling Rodolfo’s jealousy. He confirms they must part. Mimì retreats when Rodolfo comes out of the tavern. She overhears his confession that it’s really Mimì’s illness that bothers him. Her coughing reveals her just as Musetta’s laughter draws Marcello inside. Mimì and Roldofo agree to separate (Addio, senza rancor), but then decide to delay parting until spring. Marcello and Musetta come out—their argument counterpoint to Rodolfo and Mimì’s renewed affection.

Back in the garret in warm weather, Marcello and Rodolfo muse on their failed loves. Colline and Schaunard arrive with only bread and herring for supper. They pretend to partake in a royal feast that leads to an imaginary ball, then a mock duel when Musetta bursts in. Mimì is outside, gravely ill; she wants to revisit the place where she was so happy. Musetta and Marcello leave to sell her earrings so that a doctor can be summoned. Colline takes his overcoat to sell (Vecchia zimarra, senti), and Schaunard leaves so Mimì and Rodolfo can be alone. Mimì reminds Rodolfo of their first encounter (Te lo rammenti quando…), but her coughing makes him turn away. Musetta returns with a muff to warm Mimì’s hands, but she quickly fades away. The silence makes Rodolfo realize Mimì has died, and the curtain descends over his grief–stricken outcry.

By Lee T. Wilkirson, ©2008. First North American serial rights only granted to The Dallas Opera. All other rights reserved.

Cast Biographies La bohème

Ana María Martínez (Mimì), soprano, returns to The Dallas Opera as Mimì after debuting here as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. Ms. Martínez, a Grammy Award® winner, has an international career spanning all of the world’s most important opera houses and concert halls. In 2014-15, the soprano opened the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s season as Donna Elvira in a new production of Don Giovanni, returned to Opéra national de Paris for La bohème and reprised the title role of Madama Butterfly with Houston Grand Opera. She concludes the season as Paolina in Donizetti’s Poliuto at The Glyndebourne Festival. This past November, Decca released Manon Lescaut with Ms. Martínez in the title role, recorded opposite Andrea Bocelli with Plácido Domingo conducting the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana.

Bryan Hymel (Rodolfo), tenor, reprises the role of Rodolfo in The Dallas Opera’s production of La bohème having recently performed in Franco Zeffirelli’s production for the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Hymel made his house and role debut as Percy in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s staging of Anna Bolena last December. He also recently appeared in concert at the Royal Opera House, Oman under the baton of Maestro Emmanuel Villaume. His upcoming performances include his house debut with San Francisco Opera as Énée in Les Troyens this summer, followed by his return to the Santa Fe Opera as the Duke in Rigoletto. Warner Classics recently released his first solo recording, “Héroïque,” conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.

Davinia Rodriquez (Musetta), soprano, makes her Dallas Opera debut in this role. Ms. Rodriguez started her career performing in the major Spanish and Italian theaters including Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas, Teatro Real de Madrid, Carlo Felice di Genova and many others. She has performed the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor and Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice for Seattle Opera, Liù in Turandot for ABAO Ópera de Bilbao, and Micaëla in Carmen for Teatro Ponchielli Cremona, Il Teatro Grande di Brescia, Teatro G. Fraschini Pavia, and Teatro Sociale Como. She portrayed Lucrezia Contarini in I due Foscari in Vienna at Theater an Der Wien beside Plácido Domingo. Her future engagements include Luisa Fernanda at the Palau de le Arts Reina Sofia.

Jonathan Beyer (Marcello), baritone, sings the role of Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In the 2014-2015 season, he debuts with the Florida Grand Opera as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Ping in Turandot with the Cincinnati Opera, and Carmina Burana with the New Jersey Symphony. Future engagements include Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Pittsburgh Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Boston Lyric Opera, Danilo in The Merry Widow with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with Florentine Opera. Mr. Beyer has recently sung with the Metropolitan Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Hong Kong Opera and in Munich, Oman, Bari, Boston, Austin and Montreal.

Alexander Vinogradov (Colline), bass, makes his Dallas Opera debut with this performance. Recent highlights include portrayals as Escamillo in Carmen at Teatro La Fenice, Sparafucile in Rigoletto and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at Teatro Regio Turin, Silva in Ernani at Opéra de Monte-Carlo and Mephistopheles in Faust at Atlanta Opera. In the 2014-15 season Mr. Vinogradov recorded René in Iolanta alongside Andrei Bondarenko with Dmitrij Kitajenko and the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and then portrayed Escamillo in Carmen at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He will also perform the roles of Aleko and Malatesta in Aleko and Francesca da Rimini at Opéra de Nancy and Walter in a new production of Guillaume Tell at the Royal Opera House in London, conducted by Antonio Pappano.

Steven LaBrie (Schaunard), baritone, has appeared with The Dallas Opera as Dancairo in Carmen, Paris in Roméo et Juliette as well as Mercutio in education programs of that production. Mr. LaBrie reprised the role of Schaunard in La bohème with Washington National Opera and appeared with Jessica Lang Dance in her show The Wanderer at BAM. Recent performances include Schaunard with New Orleans Opera, the Secret Police Agent in The Consul with Seattle Opera, and Raimbaud in Le comte Ory with Des Moines Metro Opera. Mr. LaBrie’s awards include a 2013 Encouragement Grant from the George London Music Foundation and Second Place from the Gerda Lissner Foundation. Mr. LaBrie is a native of Dallas, Texas and a graduate of The Academy of Vocal Arts.

Stefan Szkafarowsky (Alcindoro), bass, was heard previously at The Dallas Opera as Mitiukh in its production of Boris Godunov. Recently Mr. Szkafarowsky returned to the Metropolitan Opera to take part in its productions of The Nose, Rigoletto, and Aida. He also made his debut with the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Ukraine performing the role of Zaccaria in Nabucco. He performed Monterone and Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Opera Colorado, and the role of Bonze in Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera. Upcoming engagements include future productions at the Metropolitan Opera as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the 2015-2016 season. Mr. Szkafarowsky has been praised for the powerful quality of his voice as well as for his impeccable technique.

Jay Gardner (Parpignol), tenor, has appeared with The Dallas Opera in the roles of the Second Jew in Salome, the Second Noble in Lohengrin, Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, The First Armed Guard in The Magic Flute, and performed with The Dallas Opera Chorus for five seasons. Career highlights include the role of Canio in Pagliacci with Kansas Concert Opera, and the title role in Roméo et Juliette and Sam Polk in Susannah for the Marjorie Lawrence Opera Theatre. In addition, his solo concert appearances include the Carnegie Hall premiere of “Sing for the Cure,” commissioned by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra.

Christopher Harrison (Custom House Sergeant), bass-baritone, debuted with The Dallas Opera as a chorister in the 2012 production of Aida. He has appeared in the title roles of Gianni Schicchi and Le nozze di Figaro for the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the Lyric Opera of South Texas as Sacristan from Tosca and Alcindoro/Benoit in La bohème. Other roles that he has performed include Rev. Olin Blitch from Susannah, Dulcamara from L’Elisir d’Amore, Sancho from Die Hochzeit des Camacho and Jupiter from Orphée aux Enfers. In 2007, Mr. Harrison won the Outstanding Apprentice Award from Sarasota Opera’s apprenticeship program for his work in its productions of Halka and Madame Butterfly. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Masters of Music program.

Brian Post (Custom House Guard), baritone, made his successful solo debut in The Dallas Opera’s acclaimed production of The Barber of Seville last season. He has been a member of The Dallas Opera chorus since 2010, for which he has appeared in the notable performances of Moby-Dick and Boris Godunov, among many others. He has also performed with the Dallas Symphony chorus in Verdi’s Requiem and Four Sacred Pieces, Elgar’s The Music Makers, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion under the baton of Jaap van Zweden. Other engagements include chorus roles for The Dallas Opera productions of Iolanta and the world premiere of Everest. Mr. Post has studied privately with faculty at the University of Central Arkansas and the University of North Texas.

Dan Crowell (Prune Seller), tenor, reprises his role with The Dallas Opera as the Prune Seller, the role for which he made his TDO debut in 1994. Other performances with the company include the world premiere production the following year of The Dream of Valentino where he portrayed the role of the Costumer. His other roles with The Dallas Opera include Parpignol in La bohème, The Soldier in Wozzeck, Chodec in Katya Kabanova, The Registrar in Madame Butterfly, and, most recently, Kruschev in Boris Godunov. He also performed the tenor solos in the Messiah with the Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church. Last fall he participated in the workshop of the world premiere of Everest for The Dallas Opera along with the composer and librettist of the opera.

Children’s Chorus Cast:

Emmie Arduino, Julia Rose Arduino, Nicholas Cerny**, Julie Francis*, Olivia Ligon, Sidney Lobel*, Abby Lysinger, Zachary Lysinger, Zoe Moore, Katherine Pottkotter*, Calvin Roth*, Matthew Schultz, Liam Taylor, Amelia Vanyo, Charlotte Vanyo, Sabrina Vanyo, Karen Wemhoener, Devon West, Jo Ellen West*, Jaxon Williams, Liam Wilson

*Denotes Dallas Opera debut, ** Soloist

Production Biographies

Riccardo Frizza (Conductor), has led some of the world’s most important orchestras including Teatro alla Scala, Opéra de Paris, Royal Festival Hall of London, La Monnaie Bruxelles, New York Choral Society at Avery Fischer Hall, at the Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera. He has conducted Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Symphonic Orchestra “G. Verdi” in Milan, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsorchester of Munich, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Staatskapelle Dresden and Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig. For Decca Records he recorded the recital of Juan Diego Flórez, dedicated to Bellini and Donizetti with Symphonic Orchestra “G. Verdi”, which won the Cannes Classical Award 2004. His future plans include I Capuleti e i Montecchi in Barcelona and Otello in Bilbao.

Peter Kazaras (Stage Director), currently serves as Director of Opera and Music Theater at University of California Los Angeles. Previously, he was the Seattle Opera’s Artistic Advisor and Artistic Director of the Young Artist Program. In addition to his work at UCLA, he also directed The Consul for Seattle Opera, a new production of Cendrillon with the Juilliard School, returned to the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera to direct The Rape of Lucretia, and directed the world première of a revised version of An American Tragedy for The Glimmerglass Festival. For Seattle Opera he also directed Madama Butterfly, Wozzeck, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Falstaff, and Tristan und Isolde. This season, he will direct a new production of La bohème for Washington National Opera.

Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (Stage Director), (February 19, 1932 -- August 11, 1988) Mr. Ponnelle’s productions have been seen in nearly every important opera house in the world, from the Metropolitan Opera to the San Francisco Opera, from Paris, London and Milan to Vienna, from the Bayreuth Festival to the Salzburg Festival. His cycle of Mozart operas have been a fixture at the Metropolitan and at Salzburg in recent seasons. Throughout the 1950s, Mr. Ponnelle worked all over Europe as a designer in opera, ballet and theater. His American debut came in 1958, with sets for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in San Francisco.

Peter J. Hall (Costume Designer), (January 22, 1926 – May 27, 2010) was a British-born American costume designer who spent most of his career as resident costume designer for The Dallas Opera. Mr. Hall designed costumes (and occasionally sets) for more than 70 Dallas Opera productions beginning with Il barbiere di Siviglia in 1962. His work has been seen on stage at the Royal Opera House, London; Vienna State Opera; La Scala, Milan; Kirov Opera, St. Petersburg; the Sydney Opera House; the Metropolitan Opera and Los Angeles Opera. His award-winning costumes graced the likes of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, and Dame Elizabeth Taylor. He has also designed for Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and many other stars.

Thomas C. Hase (Lighting Designer), has designed for Carmen, The Aspern Papers, La traviata, The Winspear Opening Galas, Otello, and La bohème all for The Dallas Opera. His body of work includes designs for The Next Wave Festival in New York, Broadway and many regional opera and theatre companies across the U.S. He has also designed throughout Europe and Asia for many of the national theaters and state opera companies. Mr. Hase has been the resident lighting designer and director for Cincinnati Opera for 18 years. He recently lit the musical Doctor Zhivago, which is moving to Broadway. Upcoming projects include La finta giardiniera for Santa Fe Opera and Billy Budd for the Nationale Reisopera in Holland.

David Zimmerman (Wig and Make-up Designer), has worked with The Dallas Opera and other opera companies around the world. These include the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Paris National Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Mr. Zimmerman’s career extends to Broadway as well, where he has worked on shows including Wicked, Rocky Horror, Show Boat, South Pacific and Evita. His personal clients include Deborah Voigt, Joyce DiDonato, Patricia Racette, Martha Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, and Ricky Martin. He has also done the make-up for the DIFFA Fashion Runway, Dallas Fashion and Art Charity, and the fashion event. His print credits include two features in Opera News plus features in both Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Television and film credits include Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year and a feature film.

Alexander Rom (Chorus Master), is a native of Kharkov, Ukraine, and holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Leningrad Conservatory of Music. Since immigrating to the U.S., he has worked as a performer, conductor, educator, voice teacher, opera coach, and composer. He has been the chorus master for The Dallas Opera since 1990 and an opera coach with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Cincinnati Festival, and Ravinia Festival. He has worked with world renowned singers including Paul Plishka, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Jorma Hynninen, Helga Dernesch, Martti Talvela, Joyce DiDonato, and Jerry Hadley. Maestro Rom is an honorary Visiting Professor at Sibelius Academy Helsinki Conservatory and was a Visiting Professor at Savonlinna Opera Festival Music Institute.

Melinda Cotten (Children’s Chorus Master), first worked with The Dallas Opera as the Director of the Texas
Boy’s Choir in 1996. She made her debut as Children’s Chorus Master in 2000. She has prepared children for numerous TDO productions including
Carmen, Wozzeck, The Cunning Little Vixen, Hansel and Gretel, Tosca, La bohème, The Queen of Spades, Turandot, Die Zauberflöte, Macbeth, the inaugural Winspear production of Otelloand Boris Godunov. She has also prepared young singers for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Carmina Burana. A noted accompanist, adjudicator and clinician, Ms. Cotten has appeared as a soloist with the Richardson and Allen Symphony orchestras. The “genii” from The TDO’s Die Zauberflöte sang the nation anthem at AT&T Stadium in an arrangement by Ms. Cotten.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

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The season's performances of this production have concluded.