Puccini’s beloved bohemians with a Nordic touch at the Royal Opera

By on December 28, 2018
Markus Gårder

The world famous tenor Josè Cura is also often used as a conductor and as a director and scenographer. And it is in the latter two roles that Cura lets a Nordic light shine over Puccini’s opera and moves La Bohème from Paris to a fictional Stockholm. Once familiar with the music and the libretto in this hit, tragicomic drama, José Cura has created his very own Scandinavian Bohème for the Royal Opera. The set premiered in 2015 and with a revival on December 17, after which it is played the period December 26th until March 5, 2019.

A young woman knocks on the door of a loft in the Old Town and a young writer opens. This meeting is the beginning of one of the greatest love stories of all time. With inspiration from its own time as a poor student, Giacomo Puccini with warmth and passion portrays the lives of some young dreams, the bohemians of 1800s Paris. But the timeless story could be played anywhere.

The author Rodolfo becomes August Strindberg, the painter Marcello becomes Edvard Munch, the philosopher Colline becomes Søren Kierkegaard, the composer Schaunard becomes Edvard Grieg. The cabaret singer Musetta becomes Tulla Larsen, a role which this time is also represented by the soprano Sanna Gibbs.

The role of Mimì means Sabina Bisholt’s debut at the Royal Opera. Last season, Sabina appeared as Marguerite in Gounods Faust on the Norrlands Opera and as Mimì in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, as the first winner in the competition Opernspiele Munot.

Previously, Sabina has been seen in the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni on tour with Malmö Opera and the Opera Workshop of Malmö Opera. She has also done the roles of the Dog Lápak and the Grasshopper in Janáčeks The cunning little fox on Norrlandsoperan.

Debut at the Royal Opera is also for the Ukrainian tenor Mykhailo Malafii as Rodolfo / Strindber. New in this context are also Ola Eliasson (Eduard Munch), Markus Schwartz (Eduard Grieg) and Lennart Forsén (Sören Kirkegaard). Jonathan Darlington leads the Opera soloists, the Royal Opera choir and the Royal Orchestra.

Helena Olofsson, Entertainment | Stockholm