Royal Opera House 2017-18 Preview: Breaking Down The Numerous ‘Bohème’ Casts For the New Season

By David Salazar

As is the case with a number of major opera houses around the world, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden is presenting Puccini’s “La Bohème.” And is often the case with all of these major companies, there are so many performances of this beloved opera, 25 in total spread across the fall and summer, that it can be tough to keep track of the “who is who.”

So in previewing this opera, let’s break down what singers are singing what and when in this gargantuan new production of the famed opera.


So let’s start with the title character, who will be interpreted by no less than four sopranos.

So here’s the breakdown:

Nicole Car gets opening night of the run, plus the movie theater performance on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, coincidentally the opening night for the Metropolitan Opera. In sum, she gets eight of the performances, her final one coming on Oct. 7, 2017.

Subbing in for a few performances during the September and October dates will be soprano Simona Mihai, who will get a total of four performances. She gets three in the fall and one on July 20, 2018.

Ekaterina Siurina and Maria Agresta then get the Summer performances, with the former singing six shows and the latter seven.


Michael Fabiano gets opening night, Sept. 11, 2017, and the movie theater broadcast, singing a total of nine performances in what is a big year for him at ROH. He shares almost all of his performances with Car, though he does sing one with Mihai.

Ben Bernheim is the one to sing all of his performances with Mihai, three in total, including one in June.

Matthew Polenzani is paired with Agresta while Atalla Ayan gets to perform alongside Siurina throughout their run.


Mariusz Kwiecien sings every single fall performance, 11 in total, while Alessio Arduini and Andrei Bondarenko split duties in the summer. Arduini gets the Polenzani-Agresta cast and Bondarenko performs with Ayan and Siurina.


Joyce El-Khoury and  Simona Mihai share the role of Musetta for the fall cast. Meanwhile, the summer months bring Vlada Borovko and Danielle De Niese. The former sings alongside Siurina and Ayan while the latter joins forces with Polenzani and Agresta.


There will also be three different conductors taking on the duties throughout the 25 performances. Music director Antonio Pappano gets the bulk of the fall season, conducting a total of nine performances while Anthony Wynne Griffiths leads a total of five performances. The balance, 13 shows, go to Nicola Luisotti.