November 20, 2009

La Bohème

One of Giacomo Puccini's famous operas, "La Bohème," is on stage at Clowes Memorial Hall. The opera, set in Paris around 1830, follows a poor group of friends who are all true starving artists, musicians and poets.

The show is sung in Italian, but the English translation is projected on a screen above the stage. It's split up into four acts, with two 15 minute intermissions and a brief break between the first and second act.

The sets are masterpieces. Incredible scenes are laid out for each act, seducing the audience into the illusion of the Parisian world.

The performers' sumptuous voices resonate with each delicious sentence they sing. There's something beautiful about the rolling Italian syllables. They can turn the most mundane chatter into a work of art. Each character's voice has a unique lyrical cadence and they all melt together to create a glorious sound.

I wasn't expecting the show to be so hilarious. The friends have an easy camaraderie and their banter is cheeky. Fans of the Broadway musical "RENT" will recognize the characters and story, because it is a modern day retelling of "La Bohème."

Despite their poverty, the characters find happiness in their love for each other. In the words that the main character, Rodolfo, sings to his new love, Mimi, "In my dreams I build castles in the air; in my soul I'm a millionaire," you can feel his elation even though he is freezing.

The heart of the opera lies in the crippling fear of losing the one you love the most. Love is a risk, but you can never experience its joy without being willing to lose it.

The final two performances are at 8 p.m. tonight (Friday, Nov. 20) and 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22, so hurry to get tickets. The Indianapolis Opera is presenting the limited engagement show as part of its three show season. Next up is "The Mikado" in March 2010.

Photo Courtesy of the Indianapolis Opera

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