The moment Mimì knocks on the door of her neighbour Rodolfo sparks the start of a journey which will take the couple – and the audience – from the irrepressible joy of their burgeoning love affair through to the unbearable heartbreak at their separation by death. Only the stoniest of hearts could fail to be moved by this timeless story.
This visually spectacular, contemporary new production sees the return of sought-after Australian director Benedict Andrews to ENO, directing one of the most vibrant and exciting young casts to be seen on the London operatic stage. His work was most recently seen in London with the Young Vic’s award-winning production of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Gillian Anderson, the fastest-selling production in the Young Vic’s history. A Streetcar Named Desire is transferring to Broadway in April 2016.
Benedict’s previous collaborations with ENO include a “gripping, satisfying and thoroughly successful” (Daily Express) production of Detlev Glanert’s Caligula in 2012 and The Return of Ulysses at the Young Vic in 2011, which The Times described as “brilliant” and theartsdesk.com as “a masterpiece”. In 2015 Andrews will direct his first feature film, Blackbird, starring Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn.
Leading the cast will be superstar soprano Corinne Winters as Mimì. She launched her European career with “dauntless brilliance” (Daily Telegraph) in 2013 as Violetta in Peter Konwitschny’s ENO production of La traviata. She returned to the company in 2014 to sing the role of Teresa in Terry Gilliam’s five-star production of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini.
Performing at ENO for the first time, internationally celebrated American tenor Zach Borichevsky will sing the role of Rodolfo. He made his critically acclaimed European debut in the role for Finnish National Opera in 2014, with the Helsinki Times commenting that “a grander and more romantic-looking Rodolfo would be hard to find.” In the UK he has previously performed as Alfredo in La traviata for Glyndebourne on Tour.
ENO Harewood Artist Rhian Lois will make her house debut as the feisty and beautiful Musetta. An ENO audience favourite, in the 2014/15 season she “sparkled” (Daily Telegraph) as Atalanta in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Xerxes, created the role of the Younger Woman in the world premiere of composer Tansy Davies’s first opera Between Worlds, and reprised the role of Frasquita in Carmen.
Former ENO Harewood Artist Duncan Rock will graduate to the role of Marcello, following his “charismatic” (The Guardian) performances as Schaunard in Jonathan Miller’s production of La bohème in 2013. He has recently sung the role of Tarquinius in Fiona Shaw’s production of The Rape of Lucretia for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and at the Glyndebourne Festival. His highlights on the London Coliseum stage include Papageno in The Magic Flute and Morales in Carmen (both in 2012).
Comic genius Simon Butteriss (“my nomination for greatest living Englishman” – Daily Mail) returns to the split role of the lecherous Benoit and pompous Alcindoro, which he performed with ENO to rave reviews in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
British baritone Ashley Riches, a member of The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme from 2012–14, makes his ENO debut as Schaunard. Nicholas Masters, a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, will return to ENO as Colline, following his performance as Ashby in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning ENO production of The Girl of the Golden West (2014).
Puccini’s soaring vocal lines and sumptuous orchestration will be conducted by Xian Zhang, the highly gifted Italian repertoire specialist who made her ENO debut with La bohème in 2007. She has served as Music Director of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi since September 2009 and also appears regularly with the London Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras.
The creative team is completed by Set Designer Johannes Schütz, Costume Designer Victoria Behr and Lighting Designer Jon Clark. Working alongside Benedict Andrews is Associate Director Ran Arthur Braun.
Opens Monday 16 October 2015 at the London Coliseum (14 performances)
La bohème opens at the London Coliseum on 16 October 2015 for 14 performances – Oct 16, 21, 23, 29, Nov 4, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 24, 26 at 7.30pm
Oct 31 at 3pm & Nov 7 at 6.30pm
Pre-performance talk: 23 Oct, 5.15-6pm, £5 (£2.50 concessions)
An Opera Undressed performance of La bohème will take place on 21 October 2015 at 7.30pm.
See www.eno.org/undressed for more information.
Co-production with Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam