La Bohème

Opera 28.2–24.4

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La Bohème

Let yourself be swept away by Puccini’s La Bohème! Be carried along on a tide of beautiful music and the stories of two young couples’ lives in Paris. Under the direction of Kristofer Steen, this classic story resonates deeply with the most powerful of human emotions. Join us and witness love’s triumph over the forces of nature!

Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème is one of the world's most often performed and best loved operas. It is the story of two pairs of young lovers living in the poor artists' district of Paris in the 1830s and it cuts a direct path to the most powerful of human emotions. Above all, Puccini's music has an intensity and a melodic genius that surpasses almost everything else of its kind.

At NorrlandsOperan, Puccini's romantic classic will meet a producer with a very different temperament. Kristofer Steen was the guitarist for Refused, the hardcore band from Umeå that staked out the musical course for hordes of hard, angry and experimental rock musicians around the world during the 1990s. La Bohème represents Steen's début as an opera producer.

"I'm naturally drawn to the raw, nervy and dirty. In the beginning, I was almost afraid to take on something that is so exceptionally beautiful. But I think that there needs to be friction between the material and the producer if it's going to be really good," says Steen.

The basic story in La Bohème is very simple: seamstress Mimì and poet Rodolfo meet by accident. Love blossoms between the two, but is tested by difficult obstacles in the form of poverty and illness. In a parallel storyline, we follow cabaret singer Musetta's and painter Marcello's considerably more stormy, "on-again, off-again" relationship.

Steen's desire has been to investigate what lies in the depths of La Bohème, beneath its grand arias.

"It's important for me to get a grip on the characters; to understand where they come from," he says and takes the struggling poet Rodolfo as an example:

"Rodolfo is usually a typical robust tenor; an alpha male type. But I see him as more of a phoney. He wants to be a great poet, but doesn't have what it takes. If I view him in that way – as an insecure person who overcompensates for his shortcomings – then I'm able to understand him. Then his character becomes moving."

Rodolfo will be played by young Chinese tenor Yinjia Gong, and Mimì by Rebecca Rasmussen, who we last saw as Micaëla in Carmen. Gong and Rasmussen are two among a cast of singers who will provide body and voice to La Bohème's gallery of characters. The soloists will be accompanied by NorrlandsOperan's Symphony Orchestra, a choir and a children's choir.

Together with the producer, set and lighting designer Linus Fellbom has created simple, clean sets that range from the unembellished to the spectacular. Behnaz Aram's minimalistic, expressive costumes complete the visual effect. But the set design also includes surprising elements that border on pure illusion:

"La Bohème is about love; love as a kind of force that defies the laws of nature. In our production, this idea is expressed in an entirely practical way on the stage," Steen explains without giving too much away.

The opera will be sung in Italian, with Swedish subtitles.

Opera buffet dinner deal
Enjoy good food before your performance! Treat a friend to opera and a nice dinner in a relaxing setting at the bar. The Opera Buffet dinner deal applies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when you purchase a ticket to La Bohème. Price: SEK 170 (ord. price SEK 190). Limited seats available.
Book via NorrlandsOperan's Ticket Office,

Take the bus to NorrlandsOperan!
At NorrlandsOperan, we want to help people living outside Umeå also enjoy opera performances. To help make this a reality, non-Umeå residents can apply for an allowance to cover bus fares. Organisers and assocations can get a group together, book tickets, hire a bus and come to the opera! The allowance is a standard amount determined by the distance you need to travel to reach Umeå. NorrlandsOperan will pay the allowance to the group's organisers after the performance.
For more information, contact Malin Lindberg, marketing office, at: