Metropolitan Opera Preview 2017-18: A Look At the Many Interpreters of ‘La Bohème’ Casts

By David Salazar

Puccini’s ever-popular “La Bohème” will return to the great house this season with a plethora of differing casts over the course of its 15 performances. From its Oct. 2, 2017, season premiere to its March 10, 2018, season finale, the opera will feature a stunning three Mimis, two Musettas, four Rodolfos, four Schaunards, two Marcellos, two Collines and Paul Plishka.

With such a massive cast to look at, here is a breakdown of the major stars by role.


Anita Hartig and Sonya Yoncheva are two great Mimì interpreters at the Met in recent years, the former missing out on an HD performance due to a last-minute illness. She sang a total of five performances in late 2014. Meanwhile, Yoncheva will get her own HD transmission this year for a role that she sang six times in 2014.

But Angel Blue will be making her Met debut and will be the first of the three to take on the role for a total of seven times between Oct. 2 and 27.

“I think probably it’s an opera that is such a well-known piece of music and I’m very appreciative of the Met for giving me this. I have so many performances [in this run] and that is rewarding,” she told OperaWire in a previous interview. “I’ve performed it a lot overseas and have actually never done the role here in the United States. To be my debut of Mimì here in my country means a lot to me, especially in one of the world’s greatest opera houses.”


The lead tenor role will get quite a few interpreters leading the way. Michael Fabiano gets the HD performance and has performed the opera five times between 2014 and 2017. Dmitri Popov returns to a role he sung five times last season. Jean-François Borras also returns to the role after having authored it five times in the 2015-16 season. But it is Russell Thomas, best known for his Verdi interpretations, who will have the first five performances as Rodolfo, that will prove to be a great surprise.


In this famed role, we get two polar opposites. On one end, you get Brigitta Kele, who sang the role in 2016 as her debut. Meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum is Susanna Phillips who has performed the role a whopping 44 times since 2008.


Michael Todd Simpson and Lucas Meachem will sing their first Marcellos at the Met.


Four singers take on the role with two of them having previous Met performances. Those include Alexey Lavrov, who has sung the role 13 times and David Pershall, who has five performances under his belt. Javier Arrey gets one performance, his first-ever at the Met in the role, while Duncan Rock makes his Met debut with the bulk of the work – eight performances.


Matthew Rose and David Soar share the role, the former having performed it 13 times before and the latter with seven performances on record.

Paul Plishka

We could probably do an entire piece just on Plishka’s exploits as Alcindoro and Benoit, as he has sung the opera 202 times since 1968, interpreting either or both of the roles in that span.