Transferring, after five sell-out months, from its 60-seat home at the new Cock Tavern in Kilburn for a five-week season at the 140-seat, West End-based Soho Theatre, La Boheme has become the longest continuously performed production of Puccini’s opera in history. In addition to being the first opera ever staged at Soho Theatre, the production marks the first transfer for both the Cock, which was only founded in January 2009, and for OperaUpClose, which was inaugurated with this production.
In Robin Norton-Hale’s new translation and interpretation, Puccini’s 1896 classic is relocated from 1830's Paris to modern-day London. Beginning on Christmas Eve, La Boheme revolves around Mimi and Rodolfo, profoundly in love but unable to find a way to make their relationship work. Mimi has moved to England from Romania and is working as a cleaner. She lives alone in a bedsit, amid a group of middle-class boys indulging in a carefree, Bohemian lifestyle; spending the little money they have on nights out. When Rodolfo falls for Mimi, the group discover the complexity of living for love and art.
At last night’s Q&A Norton-Hale and Spreadbury-Maher spoke openly about why they created OperaUpClose and what it means to them; the company’s plans for the future (including 3 more productions before Christmas!) and about working with and nurturing young talent. The discussion was chaired by Whatsonstage.com’s Opera Editor Simon Thomas.
To listen to the full recording of the Q&A, click the 'play' button below; or to subscribe and download from iTunes, click here.