Opera San José 2017-18 Preview: Company Showcases Puccini’s Iconic ‘La Bohème’

By Katharine Baran

Starting April 15, “La Boheme” will open for the Opera San José, CA, directed by Michael Shell. “I am excited to direct ‘La Boheme’ for Opera San Jose,” Shell told OperaWire.

The whole two hours and forty-five-minute performance will be sung in Italian with English super-titles. “The opera will be set at the end of WWI, when Paris was delirious with optimism for the new century, when Nijinsky, Stravinsky, Picasso and Coco Channel were creating a new way of life in the most exciting city in the world,” added Shell.

Soprano Sylvia Lee, a member of the resident company, will play Mimì and will sing in three of the six performances. Her most recent work includes Lucia in Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” for which she received rave reviews.

Tenor Kirk Dougherty, who’s also a resident member, will sing the role of Rodolfo. He was praised most recently for his Almaviva in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Jim Sohre of Opera Today said, “He (Dougherty) once again regales us with a honeyed voice that is pliable, beautifully produced, and consistently responsive. His forays into the upper reaches of the role are as comfortably negotiated as the characterful melismas.”

Matthew Hanscom, resident baritone, is also in the production and will sing for the part of Marcello.  He most recently appeared as Lt. Gordon of the Scottish army in Puts and Campbell’s “Silent Night” and as Figaro in two performances of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.”

Baritone and member of the company, Brian James Myer will be Schaunard. His most recent work was as Ponchel in Puts and Campbell’s “Silent Night” and Figaro in “The Barber of Seville,” where he “stole the show.”

Another resident of the company and bass-baritone, Colin Ramsey, will appear as Colline. He was applauded most recently for his work as Basilio in “The Barber of Seville.”

Soprano Julie Adams, who made her debut for the Opera San Jose just recently, will also sing in three performances as Mimi. From her previous role as Anna Sorensen in “Silent Night,” she was praised for her “heart-stopping” performance.

And last but not least, making her company debut as Musetta, there’s Soprano Vanessa Becerra. Ms. Becerra recently performed in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Barbarina in “The Marriage of Figaro,” and Annina in Verdi’s “La Traviata.”

La Boheme” runs through April 30