International opera singers take stage for “La BohÃme” |

International opera singers take stage for “La BohÃme”

If you go Who: Emerald City Opera What: Puccini's "La BohÃme" When: 7 p.m. today and 3 p.m. Sunday Where: Steamboat Springs High School auditorium Cost: Tickets cost $15 to $65 and are available at http://www.emeraldcityop..., Off the Beaten Path Bookstore or by calling 879-1996.

There’s a lot of comedy, tragedy and passionate emotion to be had when you mix a poet, an artist, a philosopher and a musician who are leading free-spirited lives undaunted by cold, hunger or the misadventures of poverty. Add a couple of girlfriends and the story only can be enriched by the promise of romance, jealousy and heartache.

Emerald City Opera’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s “La BohÃme” brings the classic tale of passion and restlessness, set in the 1830s Paris’ Latin Quarter, to the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium this weekend. The performance is headlined by opera singers from such illustrious companies as the Metropolitan Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and New York Opera, and it is complemented by a chorus of local singers who auditioned for their roles and have spent grueling weeks preparing for them.

If you go Who: Emerald City Opera What: Puccini’s “La BohÃme” When: 7 p.m. today and 3 p.m. Sunday Where: Steamboat Springs High School auditorium Cost: Tickets cost $15 to $65 and are available at http://www.emeraldcityop…, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore or by calling 879-1996.

Think of the story of “La BohÃme” as if it were the tale of modern-day ski bums, said Emerald City Opera founder Keri Rusthoi, who will sing the part of Musetta this weekend. The opera’s four main characters are poor but happy young men who seek to be great in their fields. The young men are undaunted by their poverty in the pursuit of their art and grand life experiences.

To comprehend “La BohÃme” in modern-day Steamboat terms, simply exchange for one of the young men your most beloved ski-bum pal, the guy who works just enough to get by, and change the pursuit of art to the quest for “freshies,” Rusthoi recommends.

With a plethora of modern-day bohemians lurking about in Steamboat, there should be broad appeal to an opportunity to see an internationally renowned cast sing one of history’s most popular operas without ever having to leave the Yampa Valley, Rusthoi said.

“La BohÃme” was first performed at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy, in 1896. The four-act opera is based on Henri Mürger’s “Scenes of the Life of a Bohemian.” It is sung in Italian, but the entire opera has been translated into modern English prose that is projected directly above the stage for easy reading throughout the entire performance.

Principal singers appearing in Emerald City Opera’s production of “La BohÃme” include LeRoy Lehr and David Malis of the Metropolitan Opera, James Taylor from New York City Opera, Kara Shay Thompson of Chicago Opera Theater, Dominique Moralez of Florida Grand Opera, Ashraf Sewailam of Cairo Opera and Rusthoi.

Emerald City Opera’s thoroughly professional production of “La BohÃme” features elaborate and detailed sets, a live full orchestra conducted by Bernard Rubenstein and lush period costumes draped with such luxuries as velvet capes and feathered bonnets.

Despite being a story set nearly 175 years ago, “La BohÃme” possesses the undying essence of timeless personal relationships. Rodolfo and Mimi fall madly in love, become wildly inspired and profess their intent to live in poverty with a “spirit like a millionaire.” The four bohemian men spend time at the nearby watering hole, the Cafe Momus, and declare, “No more thinking, just more drinking.”

Musetta is the bold beauty and insufferable flirt who turns men’s heads in the bar and “loves to see the subtle longing in their glances.” And when the bill shows up at Cafe Momus, everyone is broke.

“La BohÃme” has moments of comedy and a certain tragic ending. The timeless story shows how fiery relationships, undying love and youthful idealism can complicate the simplest of lives.

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