A New Setting for an Old Favorite

By Richard Mineards   |   July 25, 2023
The Music Academy brought a new take on classic La bohème (photo by Zach Mendez)

Italian composer Puccini’s beloved opera La bohème took on a whole new tone at the Granada as part of the Music Academy’s 76th annual Summer Festival.

Instead of Paris’ Latin Quarter in the 1830s, as in the original 1895 work, the setting was Brooklyn and Manhattan in 2011, a time of restless energy and a spirit of vigorous protest that led to the 59-day long Occupy Wall Street movement against wealth disparity and earning inequality.

Principal conductor Daniela Candillari, music director of the Opera Theatre in Saint Louis, was in top form for the highly entertaining production with original staging by Mo Zhou, who directed three previous productions of the masterpiece, the fourth most performed opera in the world.

Soprano Angela Lamar and tenor Luke Norvell as the two lovers, along with cast members Kylie Kreucher, Navasard Hakobyan, Alex Granito, Jared Werlein, and Peter Barber, were all superb, not to mention the SING! children’s choristers.

Of particular interest to me, having lived in Manhattan for 25 years, were the scenes of Christmas in Union Square, just a short walk from my Gramercy Park apartment, and dinner at Balthazar, one of my favorite eateries.

Fond memories….


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