Rome Opera puts on Bohème about youth on world margins

New staging by Ollé, debut at Costanzi for Nánási

(ANSA) - Rome, June 8 - Instead of the charm of nineteenth-century Paris there is multiethnic diversity, cultural ferment and the degradation found in city outskirts in the La Bohème under Catalan director Alex Ollé de La Fura dels Baus at the Opera di Roma from June 13.
    The new staging, co-produced by the Turin's Teatro Regio, will be the end of the Teatro Costanzi season.
    Some 11 performances of Puccini's well-known work will be held, until June 24, with the Hungarian orchestra director Henrik Nánási in Rome for the first time.
    It will leave behind romantic Paris to delve into a darker place that is out of time: an imaginary and turbulent metropolis, similar in some ways to all contemporary cities and made vibrant and alive by a group of young people with fragile, precarious but beautiful hopes who want a future and have a revolutionary dream of happiness. "What is most important for me in the Bohème is the strength of the young. After 120 years, this opera still speaks to the public, because we have all been young, with a hunger for life, a future, success and immediate happiness," said Ollé, for whom this is his fifth production at the Opera di Roma. "Mimì's death is, in the end, a metaphor for the end of youth. It is something that makes you into an adult. I did not want to set the opera in Paris or the center of a city - I wanted it in the outskirts. City outskirts are the same around the world: poorer people live there, just as the main characters in the opera do. They do not have money. La Bohème fascinates me because they are not heroes. These are daily situations, it is an opera of small things, as Puccini said," he added.
    "I think that the young public will like it," the director continued. "Everything, from the lights to the costumes to the set design, brings the representation closer to today." A great deal of enthusiasm was shown by Nánási as well, who in the autumn will be back at Costanzi to conduct Il Flauto Magico.
    "La Bohème," he said, "is like a drug. When you begin to play it, you can't stop afterwards. The orchestra knows it well, but every time is an exciting experience." He underscored that the Puccini opera has a "perfect balance in the orchestration, between slow movements and faster ones, between the poetic aspect and the dramatic one". Three different casts will be seen on stage, with actors of three different nationalities: in the role of Mimì there will be Anita Hartig, Vittoria Yeo and Louise Kwong; in that of Musetta, there will be Olga Kulchynska and Valentina Nafornita; while the young bohemians will be Giorgio Berrugi and Ivan Ayon-Rivas (Rodolfo), Massimo Cavalletti and Alessandro Luongo (Marcello), Simone del Savio and Enrico Marabelli (Schaunard), Antonio di Matteo and Gabriele Sagona (Colline). The set design is by Alfons Flores, costumes by Luc Castells and lights by Urs Schonebaum.