The original La Bohème, which is set in a Paris garret, is a tale of four young struggling bohemians. The opera revolves around the tragic love story between Rodolfo, a poet, and Mimì, a young seamstress. The local production, which is being led by award-winning director and UCT alumna Tara Notcutt, will feature six emerging South African singers who portray this 120-year-old story in a South African context.
The 90-minute production is brought to you by Africa Arts as part of their mission to promote South African culture, heritage and language through opera. The company also aims to create context for opera in South Africa, which in turn creates performance opportunities for South African artists.
Amanda Osorio, founder and producer of Africa Arts, says, “We decided to update one of the world's best-loved and well-known operas, La Bohème, and set it in District Six. We did this as a way of honouring and celebrating the heritage of this important South African space and historical era, through the lens of a classic opera storyline.”
District Six was a vibrant neighbourhood with a diverse population who appreciated the arts and music, which is why it was such a logical idea for Osorio to combine La Bohème's storyline with the historical legacy of the district.
She says, “La Bohème means 'The Bohemians' and District Six was well known for its bohemian atmosphere. It was a place where South African artists of all races and religions could mix freely and share ideas, which resulted in a collective culture in opposition to the Apartheid regime.”
The entire cast – Amanda Osorio, Given Nkosi, Lynelle Kenned, Owen Metsileng and Njabulo Mthimkhulu – are UCT alumni except for Kabelo Lebyana who is currently a student at the UCT Opera School.
The production was reimagined by opera veteran Professor Emeritus Angelo Gobbato, the former director of the UCT Opera School. The live orchestra will be conducted by Alex Fokkens.
La Bohème in District Six will be presented at the Suidoosterfees on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 20:30 and Friday, 29 April 2016 at 20:00.
The opera will be performed at the Artscape Theatre Centre on Sunday, 1 May 2016 at 15:30.
Tickets range from R100 to R200. | Book at Computicket
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