2017-12-06 19:43
Puccini's 'La Boheme' staged this weekend
A scene from La Boheme / Courtesy of Korea National Opera

By Yun Suh-young

Puccini's opera "La Boheme" is not exactly the most exciting opera of all time maybe because of its cliched plot, but nevertheless it is a beloved classic. It is known to be one of Puccini's three masterpieces, the others being “Tosca” and “Madame Butterfly.”

The “La Boheme” production by the Korea National Opera will be staged this year at the Seoul Arts Center from Thursday through Sunday. It premiered in Korea in 2012 in celebration of the opera company's 50th anniversary and has since been a sell-out performance.

The performance will be led by conductor Carlo Montanaro and directed by Marco Gandini. Mimi is played by sopranos Yoon Jung-nan and Hong Ju-young, while Rodolfo is played by tenors Heo Young-hoon and Kim Kyung-ho.

The opera portrays the life of young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. Its plot centers on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimi, who fall in love immediately on a cold winter day when Mimi knocks on Rodolfo's door and asks him to light her candle. However, their love ends in tragedy with Mimi's death due to tuberculosis as her health deteriorates due because of the cold and poverty.

The opera premiered in Teatro Regio in Turin in 1896. It is known to be a verismo opera representing the romantic period. A verismo opera is based on "verism" which means the set and characters are based on real life. It is one of the forms of Italian operas of the 19th century, which lasted for 20 years from 1890 to 1910. Verismo operas tried to replicate reality on the stage and attempted not to beautify it. They expressed the rawness of emotions such as passion, despair, and rage as they were.

The opera will run from Dec. 7 through 10 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 1588-2514. Ticket prices are from 10,000 won to 150,000 won.