Richard Jones’s production of Puccini’s La bohème (1896) will return to Covent Garden for its second revival this January, the Royal Opera has announced.
Premiering at the Royal Opera House in 2017, Jones’s production replaced John Copley’s much-loved version, which was retired in 2015, having clocked up 25 revivals in its 41-year history at the Royal Opera House. Jones’s traditional realisation of Puccini’s tragic masterpiece proved popular with critics and audiences and it received its first revival in 2018.
The world premiere of La bohème – which translates as The Bohemians, following as it does the lives of a group of young, unconventional artists – was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the 28-year-old Arturo Toscanini. Since then it has become one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. It has been performed more than 500 times at the Royal Opera House since it received its Covent Garden premiere in 1897.
This production features lighting design by Mimi Jordan Sherin, movement direction by Sarah Fahie and set and costumes by Stewart Laing that evoke both the poverty of the bohemians’ attic home and the splendour of Paris’s shopping arcades and cafés on Christmas Eve.
The revival falls under the baton of two French conductors. Emmanuel Villaume made his Royal Opera debut in 2000 with Les contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann, Offenbach, 1881). He shares duties with Ariane Matiakh, making her Royal Opera debut.
All the main roles are double and in some cases triple cast. American tenor and Royal Opera regular Charles Castronovo and Chilean-American tenor Jonathan Tetelman, making his Royal Opera debut, sing Rodolfo. They are joined by Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, Russian soprano Ekaterina Siurina and Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto sharing the role of Mimì.
Polish baritone Andrzej Filonczyk and Ukrainian baritone Andrei Bondarenko (in his Royal Opera debut) share the role of Marcello, while Russian soprano Aida Garifullina (another Royal Opera debut), Romanian-born British soprano Simona Mihai and Russian soprano Vlada Borovko sing Musetta.
La bohème opens at the Royal Opera House on 10 January 2020, with subsequent performances to 13 February 2020. The production will be broadcast live to cinemas throughout the UK and further afield on 29 January at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now.
The Royal Opera presents its second revival of Richard Jones’s production of Puccini’s La bohème (2017 ROH; Catherine Ashmore).