New production of an old favourite
In December, Dutch National Opera presents one of the all-time favourite operas: La bohème, in a new co-production with English National Opera.
Giacomo Puccini based his opera on Henri Murger’s book Scènes de la vie de bohème about the lives of young, struggling Parisian artists. In La bohème the composer turned everyday emotions into great art, writing sensitive passages with the legendary climactic aria ‘Che gelida manina’, the moment the lead characters Rodolfo and Mimì discover their love for one another.
Watch the choir De Kickers rehearse.
The internationally renowned conductor Renato Palumbo makes his Dutch National Opera debut, as do the prominent director Benedict Andrews and, as decor designer, the visual artist Johannes Schütz. Debutes with DNO as well for the two leads: Atalla Ayan (Rodolfo) and Grazia Doronzio (Mimì). The popular Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans (Papageno in Die Zauberflöte) returns as the musician Schaunard.
The sought-after Australian director Benedict Andrews (Adelaide, 1972) has received Olivier Award, London Critics Circle Award and the Helpmann Award. He has directed for the stage − with top actresses such as Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert − but also opera, including Le nozze di Figaro, Macbeth, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Caligula. Andrews is known for his provocative approach to standard as well as less familiar repertoire.
Coproduction with English National Opera, Londen.
Team, Cast and Chorus
- Musical Director
- Renato Palumbo
- Stage Director
- Benedict Andrews
- Johannes Schütz
- Victoria Behr
- Lighting design
- Jon Clark
- Chorus of Dutch National Opera
- In cooperation with children's choir De Kickers
- Atalla Ayan
- Thomas Oliemans
- Benoit / Alcindoro
- Matteo Peirone
- Grazia Doronzio
- Massimo Cavalletti
- Gianluca Buratto
- Joyce El Khoury
- Morschi Franz
- Sergente dei Doganieri
- Peter Arink
- Un Doganiere
- Harry Teeuwen
- Un venditore ambulante
- Richard Prada
La bohème was innovative in its realistic representation of the environment in which the opera takes place: the free-living world of the bohémiens and their girlfriends. The characters express themselves in everyday language. Audiences were quick to embrace the work, and it is still, more than a century later, an audience favourite.
Mimì’s demise is always moving, especially when performed as a real-life drama as Puccini wished. He did not want a bravura death aria, but an ever-weakening voice. Contrasting with the tragic lovers Rodolfo and Mimì are Marcello and Musetta, who offer a comical note with their endless bickering.
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
The Netherlands’ finest orchestras are invited to accompany DNO productions. Our regular partner is the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Under former chief conductor Hartmut Haenchen the orchestra cemented its excellent reputation with Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 2014-2015: Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, La bohème and Macbeth (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra); Il viaggio a Reims and Die Zauberflöte (Netherlands Chamber Orchestra).
An introduction evening about La bohème. Every performance of National Opera & Ballet is preceded by an introductory talk. Learn more, enjoy more. The introduction begins 45 minutes before curtain and is held in the foyer of the second balcony. The introduction is free of charge to everyone attending the performance, and amplification is used to enhance audibility. Several days prior to the premiere, the introduction will be made available digitally as a podcast. Check this page to see if the podcast has already been made available.
View the printed programme (in Dutch, with an English summary) for La bohème here (PDF, 366 KB):
‘Benedict Andrews is the most engaged and engaging director I have worked with in any medium. He’s intuitive and gut-driven on the floor of the rehearsal room – fuelled, of course, with a fierce intelligence and unique perspective of the world.’