Surflight Theater will host Pennsylvania’s Center Stage Opera Company at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The Center Stage Opera, based in Harrisburg, Pa., has visited Surflight many times before and has developed an enthusiastic Southern Ocean County audience base by performing works such as Verdi’s “Aida” and “La Traviata,” Bizet’s “Carmen” (twice) , Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” and, last year, Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.” This year Center Stage will double down on Puccini, performing his “La Boheme.”
The opera was composed between 1893 and 1895 but it was set in Paris around 1830. It shows the Bohemian lifestyle of a poor seamstress and her artist friends. Characters include Mimi, the aforementioned seamstress, Rodolfo, a poet, Marcello, a painter, Musetta, a singer, Schaunard, a musician, and Colline, a philosopher. It starts off with three of the friends freezing in a garret apartment on Christmas Eve, so cold they burn one of Rodolfo’s manuscripts for heat. Then Schaunard arrives with all sorts of treats – food, wine and cigars. He explains how he came into his good fortune. He’d been hired by an eccentric English gentleman who had ordered him to play his violin to a parrot until it died. How’s that for Bohemian for ya?
But all is not art and fun. Over the course of the opera, Rodolfo and Mimi fall in love. And then she gets “consumption,” the 19th century term for tuberculosis. He doesn’t have the money for her treatment and feigns indifference towards her so she will leave him and find a wealthier suitor. She does, but, well, she simply doesn’t love him like she loves Rodolfo and leaves her wealthy viscount, her sickness be damned.
“La Boheme” is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. It is currently being produced at New York’s Metropolitan Opera through Jan. 13, 2024.
Now it is coming to Beach Haven, too.
Tickets are $31.50 and may be purchased online at surfight.org or at the box office in Beach Haven. —RM