Vancouver Opera’s 2018/2019 season and festival bring us a lush new production of Puccini’s La Bohème that is quite literally designed as an enormous vintage postcard of Paris. The curtain rises on a modern-day flea market, with tourists taking selfies, sellers touting their wares and an accordion duo entertaining the crowd. Amid the bustle, a lone visitor puts a record on a vintage gramophone from which plays the opening bars of Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera, transporting the audience back in time.
Canadian designer and director duo André Barbe and Renaud Doucet – the team behind VO’s Turandot in 2017 – has created a beautiful and gloriously over-the-top production, first seen at the Scottish Opera where it was highly successful. The setting is updated to the interwar years of the 1920s when American artists and writers flocked to Paris to live the bohemian life.
Literally meaning ‘the bohemians’, this tragic love story of passion, poetry and poverty, with uplifting humorous moments, features soprano France Bellemare, tenor Yosep Kang and baritone Phillip Addis and is directed by world-renowned conductor Judith Yan.