Maestro Christofer Macatsoris leads the AVA Opera Orchestra
Jeffrey Buchman, director
April 30 – May 14, 2022
We regret to inform you that the Farewell Recital and the May 14, 2022 performance of La bohème have been cancelled, due to an increase of COVID-19 cases at AVA. We are heartbroken to have to make this difficult decision and to end the AVA season this way.
On a positive note, we will be virtually streaming the Farewell Recital! The date of when this stream will be available will be announced at a later time. As this will be an unbudgeted expense for AVA, any donation will be beneficial to us, as we celebrate our graduating Resident Artists.
You will receive a message with options regarding your tickets, shortly.
We do ask for your continued patience as we contact and respond to all ticket requests.
We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time!
The world’s most beloved opera returns to the AVA stage this season, performed by our award-winning Resident Artists! The story of love and loss against the backdrop of some of the most familiar, ravishing and lush melodies in opera is sure to delight audiences and transport you to the streets of Paris.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
AVA La bohème Cast List (in order of appearance)
*off-night cast will sing in the chorus
Cast subject to change
Throughout AVA’s 87 year history, Puccini’s masterpiece has been presented ten times, and alumni have gone to perform in La bohème around the world. Below is just a small selection of AVA alumni who have gone on to perform La bohème across the globe.
See the future stars of La bohème at AVA this spring!
AVA is joining performing arts organizations across the nation in requiring that our visitors and audience members provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend all indoor public performances and events at AVA. Proof of negative COVID-19 tests will not be accepted, with the exception of children under the age of 12; children under 12 will be required to show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of the event. Further, AVA will adhere to the guidelines regarding proof of vaccination set forth by all venues that host AVA performances. Masking may be required based on the mandates set forth by the City of Philadelphia and we encourage our visitors and audience members to bring masks with them for all AVA performances. This policy is subject to change based upon guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.
ACT I. In their Latin Quarter Garret, on Christmas Eve, the near-destitute artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are soon joined by their roommates—Colline, a young philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. Three of the friends depart to celebrate at the Café Momus, but Rodolfo stays behind to write, promising to join them later. A pretty neighbor, Mimì, knocks on his door to ask for a light for her candle. No sooner does she enter than the girl feels faint; after reviving her with a sip of wine, Rodolfo helps her to the door and relights her candle. Mimì realizes her key is missing. Rodolfo finds the key and slips it into his pocket. He tells her his dreams (“Che gelida manina”) and she recounts her life alone in the garret (Mi chiamano Mimì). During their conversation, Rodolfo and Mimì fall in love. Expressing their joy in finding each other (“O soave fanciulla”), Mimì and Rodolfo embrace and leave arm in arm to join the others at the café.
ACT II. Amid the shouts of street hawkers, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet near the Café Momus and then introduces her to his friends. Shortly thereafter, Marcello’s fromer sweetheart, the vivacious Musetta, makes a noisy entrance on the arm of her elderly but wealthy paramour, Alcindoro. Trying to regain Marcello’s attention, she sings of her popularity (Quando me’n vo). She complains that her shoe pinches, and sends Alcindoro away to get another pair. The moment he is gone, Musetta falls into Marcello’s arms and tells their waiter to charge everything to Alcindoro. The bohemians leave the café just before Alcindoro rushes back with Musetta’s shoes.
ACT III. At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, merrymakers are heard within a tavern. Mimì soon wanders in, searching for Marcello and Musetta. When the painter emerges, she tells him of Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy (“O buon Marchello, aiuto!”), and says she believes it is best they part ways. Rodolfo, asleep in the tavern, wakes and comes outside. Mimì hides nearby. The poet tells Marcello that he wants to leave Mimì, citing her fickleness as the reason. Pressed for a real reason, he soon breaks down and says her cough can only grow worse in the poverty they share. When she overhears that Rodolfo is despairing over her failing health, Mimì is deeply moved. She stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell (“Donde lieta uscì”) as Marcello runs back into the tavern. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Musetta and Marcello dash out of the inn, quarrelling because Marcello caught Musetta flirting (“Addio dolce svegliare”). The painter and his lover part, but Rodolfo and Mimì, though feeling that their relationship is coming to an end, decide to stay together until the spring.
ACT IV. Both Rodolfo and Marcello have ended their affairs with Mimì and Musetta,and they lament their loneliness in the garret (“O Mimì, tu più non torni”). Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. Trying to cheer one another up, they engage in some exaggeratedly farcical activities, including a courtly dance and a mock duel. Unexpectedly, Musetta bursts in and announces the arrival of Mimì, whose health has further deteriorated. Musetta relates how Mimì begged to be taken to her lover to die, and asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine while Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat (“Vecchia zimarra”). All past grudges are forgotten, and Rodolfo and Mimì have a chance to express their feelings for each other (Sono andati?”). When the others return, Musetta prays for Mimì’s life, but Mimì is more ill than anyone had thought. She peacefully drifts into unconsciousness as Rodolfo closes the curtains to soften the light. Schaunard discovers Mimì is dead, and Rodolfo throws himself despairingly on her body, repeatedly calling her name.
Generously sponsored by Judith Broudy