English National Opera (ENO) will be taking its revival of Richard Miller’s classic production of Puccini’s tragic masterpiece La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896) to this year’s South Facing Festival at the Crystal Palace Bowl, Crystal Palace Park, in south London.
The outdoor music festival runs on selected dates from 29 July to 21 August. ENO’s concert performance of La bohème will take place on the final night. Doors open at 6pm, with the show starting at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now.
One of the world’s most popular and well-known operas, the story follows seamstress Mimì and poet Rodolfo’s tragic romance from its joyful beginnings to ultimate heartbreak. Inspired by period photos by Hungarian-French artist Brassaï (the pseudonym of Gyula Halász), Miller’s production is set in 1930s Paris; the original was set in the 1840s.
It’s Christmas Eve and the four penniless bohemians of the title have just come into some money. They decide to go out to celebrate; Rodolfo stays behind to finish some writing and is interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s their neighbour Mimì. Love blossoms, but the couple are torn apart by Rodolfo’s jealousy. They only reunite when Mimì is dying of tuberculosis.
“We’re thrilled to share this exquisite music outside of the London Coliseum and hope you will join us for this sublime summer evening of live opera,” ENO said in a statement. “Set in the beautiful surrounds of Crystal Palace Park, this is a truly enchanting environment to experience Puccini’s moving score.”
South Facing Festival launched in August 2021, with an eclectic line-up of performers, including ENO’s production of another Puccini masterpiece: Tosca (1900). The festival was the first music event to be held at the venue for 14 years; previously it had hosted such acts as Bob Marley, Elton John and Pink Floyd.
This year’s South Facing features headline gigs from London Grammar, Jungle, Bombay Bicycle Club, Richard Ashcroft, Kamasi Washington and Becky Hill. More acts are yet to be announced. Tickets for all main concerts are on sale now, and prices depend on the performer.
For the opera, large screens will also show the performance and microphones will be used to ensure high-quality sound reproduction. There will be a seated area for the performance, with tickets costing £65. The large grass area in front of the stage will form an open-air picnic-style seating area – audiences are welcome to bring blankets. Tickets cost from £45. Entry for general admission costs from £40.
English National Opera will present Richard Miller’s classic production of Puccini’s La bohème at this year’s South Facing Festival in south London’s Crystal Palace Park.