Arts / Performing Arts

The Fort Worth Opera Brings Turn-of-the-Century Paris to Texas With Its Latest Performance 

La Bohème Comes To Bass Hall This April

BY // 03.06.24

As the Fort Worth Opera celebrates its 78th anniversary with a return to Bass Hall, its artistic director Angela Turner Wilson turns up the heat. The 2023/2024 continues its season with “one of the most enchanting operas in the traditional repertory,” Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 masterpiece, La Bohème.

Puccini’s masterpiece — a poignant love story, and a tale of star-crossed lovers —, La Bohème has inspired modern works from the stage musical Rent to movies including Moonstruck and Moulin Rouge. Opera fans can’t get enough of this heartfelt tragedy.

The Fort Worth Opera will make the most of the elegant Bass Hall setting, to cast the scene of bohemian Paris, when La Bohème comes to life on Friday, April 5, and Sunday, April 7. There won’t be any elaborate sets or painted backdrops to set the stage ― this production will be semi-staged.

“With our La Bohème, you’ll get the full theatrical experience with the singers, the plot, glorious period costumes, and fully physical staging as the performers occupy the entire space on platforms set up inside the orchestra and around the musicians,” Angela Turner Wilson says in a release.

La Bohème Fort Worth Opera
Fort Worth Opera welcomes a star-on-the-rise, Alok Kumar, to play the part of Rodolfo in “La Bohème.”

Fort Worth Opera is Casting a Wider Net

“People always think opera is one thing. Then they’re surprised when they get a chance to see it in person. It’s so much more like soap opera — people love and die, and it’s all terribly exciting,” Wilson says.

Patrons are encouraged to purchase reserved seats early to secure an unforgettable experience, such as their glamorous private boxes. But, formal attire is not required to enjoy the opera. The stereotype of a Gilded Age operagoer wearing elbow-length white gloves, or top hats and tails comes to mind. Instead, the opera invites a new audience to revel in its productions without that expectation of formality.

Elizabeth Anthony

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ASSAEL
OLYMPIA LE-TAN
EMILY P. WHEELER
EMILY P. WHEELER
MARIA OLIVER
KATHERINE JETTER
MEREDITH YOUNG
LEIGH MAXWELL
MEREDITH YOUNG
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“There is no dress code at the opera,” Courtney Kennebeck, the Fort Worth Opera’s director of development, explains. While you can dress up for the occasion, you can also “dress to soak in the music in comfort in your favorite jeans and fleeces — though if you want to pair those jeans with the crystal-studded boots you wore to see Taylor Swift, that would be perfect, too. Opera is a little like Vegas: there is no over-the-top,” she says.

La Bohème Fort Worth Opera
La Bohème is just one of Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece operas.

The Modernity of La Bohème

Composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) embraced the modern spin in his classic opera. It juxtaposes the expected 19th-century romance with the realism dawning in the early 20th century. The story follows young lovers — Mimì and Rodolfo, who “live and love, but also lie to each other.”

The production features renowned Cuban-American soprano Elizabeth Caballero as Mimì and star-on-the-rise Alok Kumar as Rodolfo, both appearing in their Fort Worth Opera debuts.

The opera follows the lives of a group of bohemian artists, including the poet Rodolfo and his seamstress lover Mimì, as they navigate poverty, friendship, and romance.

La Bohème remains one of the most frequently performed operas in the world ― making it a treat for opera lovers and an excellent entry for newcomers to this age-old art form.

The production is in Italian with English subtitles. Tickets for the remainder of the 2023/2024 Fort Worth Opera season, including La Bohème, are available now at Fort Worth Opera.

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