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Opera Australia celebrates 60th anniversary with La Bohème

05 May 2016

Opera Australia celebrates 60th anniversary with La Bohème Image

By Nicholas Li

Opera Australia will be running 10 shows of Giacomo Puccini’s ‘La Bohème’ at the State Theatre to celebrate its 60th birthday.

Directed by Gale Edwards, a cast of international and local talent will perform the opera – a tale of love and sacrifice involving a poet, painter, musician and philosopher. Costume and sets have been designed to act as a window into the harsh world of the artists during the period.

Australian singer Andrew Jones reprises his role as Marcello from the 2011 production.

Mr Jones said Australian opera was developing in new ways. “I think it’s pretty vibrant and colourful, and especially with productions like La Bohème,” he said.

“It’s an art form which is becoming more and more modern with its narration in the story. It’s becoming closer to the performance of movies where the characters are far more realistic.”

“People are being cast for the way they appear and the way that they sing. The stories that are in opera, I believe, are still relevant today, it just depends on how directors approach them.”

Whilst the scene of the production is 1918 Weimar Republic Berlin, the opera is originally set 100 years earlier in Paris.

Mr Jones said the production’s relocation to Berlin provides a darker element to the story.

“Berlin was completely bankrupt from WWI. People were doing whatever they could to survive. Lots of brothels were set up and people were selling their souls. It’s quite relevant to the bohemian lifestyle. The students are living in their apartment and basically trying to get by,” he said.

La Bohème appears alongside productions The Pearlfishers and Luisa Miller at the State Theatre as part of Opera Australia’s May program.

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