Tag Archives: La Boheme

Sunday roundup . . . good reads around the operasphere

 It’s time for a look around the blogosphere for some of my favorite, newly-minted posts relating to the world of classical music:

  • Adam Richter at “Classical Vinylist” offers a perfect selection for October listening at his post, “In search of good autumn classical.” 
  • Bachtrack, the world’s best source for finding live classical music, offers a lovely tribute to Joan Sutherland with a list of available recordings which remain “the benchmark by which others are judged.”
  • OperaPulse has a handy list of best operas for n00bs with a few surprises. (I would have thought La Bohème to be the hands-down winner).
  • Roberto Romani, aka OperaRat, has an interesting framework for categorizing classic opera as concert or story, that asks the essential question “Are you a drama queen?” Yes, Roberto, I certainly am.
  • Sestissimo offers a thoughtful examination about why she and other performers sing (or Choose Not To)  at Trying to Remain Opera-rational. I found this line from her post particularly moving: “When all you have are dreams, everything seems possible, and when all you have are experiences, everything seems both possible and impossible at the same time,” perhaps because it resonated deeply with me.

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some Friday froth . . . what opera are you?

La Bohème?!?

 

(Well, actually I call my love Bill, not Mimi. He doesn’t call me Mimi either, but I’m feeling the La Bohème vibe. At least, at the moment I am.)

What Opera Are You?

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why La Boheme? Indeed . . .

Loretta and Ronny at La Boheme

A friend of mine saw Moonstruck for the first time this weekend on my recommendation. Don’t you just love when your friends watch movies you love, and they end up loving them, too?

Anyhoo, I had Moonstruck on the brain since the Academy Awards–I’d included it in blog post about my favorite Oscar-winning movies with opera as a backdrop or subplot. As my friend and I discussed Moonstruck today, re-enacting our favorite scenes (of course, these included the “Snap-out-of-it!” scene), she asked, “Why La Bohème?” meaning, why did the screenwriter have Ronny (Nicolas Cage) take Loretta (Cher) to see La Bohème at the Met–where one could see almost any opera one wished.

I’m not sure what the screenwriter, John Patrick Shanley, would have said in response to this question other than “Puccini never feels dated,” which he once remarked in an interview. But now that I’ve been a formal student of opera for almost nine months (yes, one could liken it to a pregnancy, with this blog being the bouncing baby with 1o fingers and ten toes and an Apgar Score of 9), but, oddly, I feel comfortable making an educated guess.

La Bohème is one of the most performed operas in the United States. The music and the story are by many accounts accessible to those who rarely or have never been to the opera. In fact, one site I know of spells out exactly why La Bohème is the perfect opera for inexperienced operagoers to cut their teeth on.

Besides being a popular classic opera, La Bohème is also a classic tear-jerker. Though I’ll stop short of calling Puccini the Nicholas Sparks of the opera world because I don’t want to receive a spate of nast-e-grams, one leaves La Bohème with the same aftertaste of pathos as having read or watched Sparks’ A Walk to Remember. It has deep appeal to the hopeless romantics among us who love having a good cry now and then, and just like A Walk to Remember, it has lots of emotional hooks to latch on to, including the untimely death of a young woman from a tragic illness who leaves behind a man who not only loves her beyond reason but may never love again.

Not only is the storyline of La Bohème accessible, but the music is beautiful–without equivocation. No one can argue that Puccini didn’t write and orchestrate gorgeous melodies. The music possesses inexplicable power to move the soul–to make you weep like a bambino.

So, back to the question at hand: Why La Bohème? If you were Ronny Cammareri, Nicolas Cage’s character, and really wanted and needed to take a woman to your bed, you’d be guaranteed a roll in the hay if you took her to La Bohème–maybe even more than one roll, depending on your potency. She’d automatically peg you as a sensitive guy who liked playing Scrabble and shopping at the Pottery Barn, or who’d move all your chick flicks to the top of your shared Netflix queue–even ahead of The Hurt Locker–just because your happiness is paramount.

Why La Bohème, indeed.

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