Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Opera Columbus continues its renaissance with a new way to present La boheme.

You know the drill. Impoverished students in Paris circa 1850 live in cold and want but manage to find wine, women and (obviously) song.  Puccini used Henri Murger's Scenes de la vie de boheme as the basis for his opera. So did Leoncavallo, composer of Paglicacci, who also wrote a La boheme, a wonderful opera never heard. That's another story. Call me up on the phone.

La boheme. The cold, the poverty, the wine, the muff, the death:

Along comes Opera Columbus wanting to do something new. Rent is based on La boheme and its been a smash for years. Can Puccini build a new audience?


Last night  I went to see Opera Columbus's new production of La boheme at Shadowbox, a venue in the Brewery district reminiscent of the shoe-biz 'rooms' of an earlier time. It's a lovely restaurant and bar, and a performance space with its own company, led by Stev Guyer (no 'e' at he end, please.) Stev's a favourite guest of mine on All Sides Weekend. So is soprano Peggy Dye, Opera Columbus's new Head Diva in Charge.

Together, Shadowbox and Opera Columbus are presenting La boheme, in English, sung by attractive young local artists.  (Last night the baritone had a wardrobe malfunction giving the audience a bonus.) The show is performed in the restaurant, and I do mean performed. Shadowbox has long been the home of the most creative and entertaining revues, with its artists encouraged to work the room. Musetta sang her waltz (beautifully) five feet from me. If several gentlemen nearby had coronaries, I'm here to tell you the died happy.

La boheme. Intimate, musical, sexy, lovey and in English. Almost in your lap. Don't miss this Sundays at 5 PM through November 18. FREE.  Shadowbox is at 503 S. Front St.

No excuse. you don't need to watch another presidential debate or reruns of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The baritone has probably bought a new belt by now for his britches, but Musetta and company remain potent and wonderful. They, with their formidable, multi-tasking pianist, will delight you. As will Puccini..

Welcome back, Opera Columbus. 

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