Syracuse Opera brings La Bohéme to the stage

This weekend marks sporano Danielle Pastin's eighth time performing the role of Mimi.

The love story of two bohemian lovers takes place against the backdrop of the romantic city of Paris and sets the stage for a beautiful, but heart-wrenching tale. Syracuse Opera’s production of "La Bohéme" opened on Feb. 5 at The Crouse Hinds Theater.

The young lovers are portrayed by Casey Finnigan, who plays Rodolpho, opposite accomplished soprano Danielle Pastin, who sings the role of Mimi.

Photo: Rebecca Fay
Danielle Pastin.

This will be the eighth time that Pastin has portrayed Mimi.

Pastin won the Judith Raskin Memorial Award for Singers for previously playing Mimi in Santa Fé Opera’s production of "La Bohéme" in 2011. The soprano has also performed in "The Queen of Spades" at the Metropolitan Opera, won the Opera Index Vocal Competition and is a past recipient of the Sullivan Foundation Award.

When asked what will be different about the eighth time, Pastin said that a different cast adds a different dimension to the production.

“For this opera the cast has to be close, and we must develop a chemistry. For example, the audience has to be able to believe that the boys are great friends. I think that’s why everyone loves it. Everyone has a friend that looks like one of these characters,” Pastin said.

"La Bohéme" debuted in 1896 and was written by Giacomo Puccini, who composed many of today’s famous operas including "Madame Butterfly" and "Tosca." The opera was originally based on Henri Murger’s stage adaptation of his novel "La Vie de Boheme," and was later adapted by Jonathan Larson into the rock musical, "Rent."

The opera focused on the lives of Mimi, Rodolpho, Marcello and Musetta, four impoverished youths who struggle to maintain their artistic pursuits following the French Revolution when artists lack a financial support base.

Always heralded for its ardent sentiment, "La Bohéme" is known for its portrayal of love, human suffering and the need for expression.

Executive Director for Syracuse Opera, Lisa Smith said that "La Bohéme" is beloved for its universality.

“It’s the beauty of being able to laugh and cry in the same show,” Smith said.

As an artist herself Pastin identifies with the characters’ struggle. “'La Bohéme' portrays the spirit of an artist which can’t be broken,” Pastin said, “It parallels my life and what I’m doing now as an artist.” 

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