Described as a timeless love story, Edmonton Opera’s production of La Bohème sets out to pull at the audience’s heart strings. The opera tells the story of struggling young artists in 19th century Paris as they search for connection and meaning. It was written by Giacomo Puccini in the 1890s and blends comedy and tragedy.
“It’s a love story, but I think it’s amazing that this opera has really endured so long because it’s a story that you can sit down and listen to and be transported away for two and a half hours,” says Andrew Haji, who stars as the male lead, Rodolfo. “One of the most appealing things about this opera is that you can see yourself in the shoes of Rodolfo or in the shoes of Mimi.”
La Bohème is Haji’s first live opera performance in two years and it’s Edmonton Opera’s first regular season show since 2020. The show stars Miriam Khalil as Mimi, the female love interest, alongside Haji. The entirety of the show is sung in Italian with English translation projections, and is accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
The show has a limited run of three performances with strengthened safety protocols. Audience members must be 12 years or older and show QR-code proof of double vaccination. Edmonton Opera is no longer accepting proof of a negative Covid-19 test in lieu of proof of vaccination — all guests must be vaccinated. All performances are capped at 50 per cent capacity, and the lobby bars and concessions will be closed.
“The biggest reason to come and see this particular production is because we’ve been missing something in our lives over the last few years,” says Haji. “I know I haven’t gone to see an opera since, well, before the pandemic began. And I really miss it. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about live performances that you just don’t get when you’re sitting in front of a screen.”
Watch Edmonton Opera’s La Bohème at the Jubilee Auditorium on February 5, 8 and 11. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. each night and tickets start at $29.