Puccini’s Classic Love Story La Bohème on Great Performances at the Met Friday, June 27 at 9 p.m. on PBS
Kristine Opolais stars, in a history-making Met role debut as Mimì; she agreed to replace an ailing colleague just hours after her first company performance in the title role of “Madama Butterfly”
Franco Zeffirelli’s lavish production of La Bohème, the most-performed opera in Met history, starring Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo as the poet Rodolfo and Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais as the fragile seamstress Mimì, airs on Great Performances at the Met on Friday, June 27 at 9 p.m. Opolais made headlines and history when she agreed to make her company role debut as Mimì with just a few hours notice, having sung the demanding title role in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the first time at the Met the night before. With this performance, she became the first singer in Met history to debut two major roles in a 24-hour period.
Susanna Phillips sings the flirtatious Musetta and Massimo Cavalletti is the painter Marcello, led by Italian conductor Stefano Ranzani. Also featured in the cast are Patrick Carfizzi as Schaunard, Oren Gradus as Colline, and Donald Maxwell as Benoît/Alcindoro.
Opolais has sung Mimi with the Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, and Latvian National Opera and will sing the role at the Met next season. She made an acclaimed Met debut last year as Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine.
The production features a cast of hundreds, a spectacular onstage snow scene, and a detailed reconstruction of the Latin Quarter in Paris.
“[Vittorio Grigolo] sang with warmth and vigor, in his element as a passionate, boyish Rodolfo,” wrote the The New York Times, after the production’s opening night this season.
“Opolais displayed heartbreaking acting and a shimmering voice,” said the Associated Press.
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato hosts the broadcast.
La Boheme was originally seen live in movie theaters on April 5 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 66 countries around the world. The transmission reached a record-breaking 15 million viewers.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Now in its fifth decade, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Barbara Willis-Sweete directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
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About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company’s repertory. The Met’s 2013-14 season features six new productions, including Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Deborah Warner in her Met debut; the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, conducted by David Robertson and directed by Bartlett Sher; Verdi’s Falstaff, conducted by Levine and directed by Robert Carsen; Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, conducted by Adam Fischer and directed by Jeremy Sams; Borodin’s Prince Igor, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov in his Met debut; and Massenet’s Werther, conducted by Alain Altinoglu and directed by Richard Eyre.
Building on its 82-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its eighth season in 2013-14 with ten live transmissions. Met Opera on Demand, a subscription service, makes selections from the company’s extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public online in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season and the Met offers free live audio streaming of performances on its website once a week during the opera season.