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La Bohème: English National Opera
Puccini’s gift for writing emotional music is brought to the fore in La bohème’s tale of doomed love in poverty-stricken Paris. One of the world’s most recognised and widely performed operas, it focuses on two central relationships: that of the poet Rodolfo, who falls in love with the pretty but consumptive seamstress Mimì; and the painter Marcello, who has a glamorous and popular on-off mistress, Musetta.
Jonathan Miller’s production for ENO has quickly become a company classic and here receives its second revival since its 2009 premiere. Inspired by Brassaï’s photographs of the Paris Left Bank in the 1930s, Miller modernises the original bohemian setting to evoke the stark poverty of the day, creating a highly effective contemporary resonance, citing the film Withnail and I as an inspiration.
Playing Mimì is Kate Valentine, who in recent seasons has played the Countess in Fiona Shaw’s production of The Marriage of Figaro and an ‘excellent’ (The Times) Helena in Christopher Alden’s Olivier Award-nominated A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Gwyn Hughes Jones returns to the role of Rodolfo following his great success in ENO’s 2010 production, and recent acclaimed Pinkerton in Madam Butterfly.
Originally the Sadler's Wells Opera, formed at the turn of the century by Lilian Baylis, the company was renamed the English National Opera in 1974. The ENO was the first British opera company to tour the United States (1984) and the first major foreign opera company to tour the former Soviet Union (1990). In 1992, the company acquired the freehold to the London Coliseum, and after a four-year restoration programme moved into its new home in 2004.
English National Opera tour dates
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Venue: London Coliseum
St. Martin's Lane
WC2N 4ES 51.509911, -0.126281
Phone: 020 7632 8300
→ Charing Cross 5 min walk
→ Leicester Square 4 min walk
→ Embankment 4 min walk
→ Charing Cross 4 min walk