10 Reasons Why You Should Not Miss Watching La Boheme in Manila!

1. If you love Opera, witness the first ever full length all-Filipino cast Opera in the Philippines!

” This 2008 production brings a talented young cast and fresh inventive staging making it a real operatic tour-de-force. Playing the lead roles are tenors Juan Alberto Gaerlan, Dondi Ong and Gary del Rosario, who by the way also sang “Parpignol” in the Rolando Tinio version of Boheme at the CCP in the 90s. He is also presently a resident artist of the Seattle Opera House after spending many years with Cleveland Opera. Mimi, on the other hand, will be performed by Jennifer Uy, a finalist in the 2001 Maria Callas Opera Grand Prix in Athens, Greece, where she has worked intensively with Dame Joan Sutherland and Gundula Janowitz. Alternating as Mimi is Maribel Miguel who is making her opera debut while sopranos Ana Feleo and Elaine Lee play Musetta. Baritones Lawrence Jatayna and Jesus Baang plays Marcello while Joseleo Logdat and John Ocampos plays Colline and Schaunard, respectively. ” (Philippine Opera Company)

2. If you are watching an Opera for the first time, join us in our excitement in watching the “World’s Most Popular Opera” according to the New York Times!

I am excited to watch my first Opera. I don’t have to fly all the way to La Scala in Milan or Metropolitan Opera House in New York to watch one. Also, La Boheme in Manila is more targeted to the youth rather than the elite society of Manila. I like the Philippine Opera Company’s advocacy of bringing the Opera to more Filipinos as possible. The biggest misconception of the Opera is that it is only for the elite who can appreciate Italian music. I love a lot foreign songs which I don’t even know the lyrics like Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), Pie Jesu, and a couple of Josh Groban songs. I know a lot of friends who also listen to Italian or Opera music.

La Boheme will be purely in Italian and there will be no subtitles. The trick in watching this opera is you need to read the synopsis of all the 4 acts before watching it. In this way, you already know the gist of what is happening and you can concentrate in appreciating the beautiful love songs in Italian. It would be better if you can listen to La Boheme music before watching the show. I included the synopsis of La Boheme Manila in this post and the you tube videos of the 1979 La Scala performance of La Boheme.

3. If you have watched La Boheme Opera before, why not watch La Boheme with Manila as the setting?

LA BOHEME IN MODERN DAY MANILA? WHY NOT? by Floy Quintos, Director of La Boheme
When Giacomo Puccini wrote his immortal opera, “La Boheme”, he gave the world a view of love and lovers that was far from pretty or sanitized. And yet, the opera about Mimi, Rodolfo, Musetta, Marcello and their band of young bohemians is still called, “the greatest love story ever sung”. Perhaps the real glory of “La Boheme” lies in the fact that the storyline delves into youthful passion, obsessive jealousy, co-dependency and love-at-first sight and makes these rather unruly and uncontainable feelings soar with beauty of his music.

Puccini was also very concerned with the concept of “verissimo”, a truthful rendition of life even in an art-form like opera that is governed by artifice. He wrote about young people on the fringe of society, young people who make art and who can’t pay their bills, and yet are given to grand passions and extravagant gestures, like falling in love and breaking up on a whim. In short, it is a love story all about the dizzy joys and deep pitfalls of young love, as all young people experience it. The universality of Puccini’s themes transcends borders and, yes, physical settings.

Thus, it seems only right that the Philippine Opera Company’s exciting new production of “La Boheme”, while retaining the original Italian libretto, is set in present-day Manila, a city obsessed with youth and beauty. In this new production, Rodolfo and Marcello are Indie artists working on their manuscripts and their multi-media art forms. Mimi is a creator of silk accessories, and Musetta, an ambitious and brazen performer out to make a name for herself. The horizon that Rodolfo’s garret looks out to, is a jungle of billboards advertising the promises of youth and beauty. The famous Café Momus is set in a street full of tiangge stands. The third act, traditionally set in a camp outside an army garrison, is now a tired perya in the off-season. The characters of Puccini’s masterpiece could be any young person wanting to make a name in a city that doesn’t care. That is the look and feel of the POC production. Aside from being a statement on the impermanence of love, the POC “Boheme” is also about a statement about young people on the fringe of society.

4. If you are a RENT fan, watch ACT I where you will see the original version of RENT’s Would You Light My Candle song.

La Boheme, Manila ACT I. In their small apartment, the painter Marcello and indie film art director Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are joined by their comrades — Colline, a young philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician who has landed a job and brings food, fuel and funds. But while they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, arrives to collect the rent. Plying the older man with wine, they urge him to tell of his flirtations, then throw him out in mock indignation. As the friends depart for a celebration at the nearby Café Momus, Rodolfo promises to join them soon, staying behind to finish writing an article. There is another knock: a neighbor, Mimì, says her candle has gone out on the drafty stairs. Offering her wine when she feels faint, Rodolfo relights her candle and helps her to the door. Mimì realizes she has dropped her key, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. In the moonlight the art director takes the girl’s shivering hand, telling her his dreams. She then recounts her solitary life, embroidering flowers and waiting for spring. Drawn to each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave for the café.

La Bohème 01 – La Scala 1979 – Che gelida manina

LaBohème 02 – La Scala 1979 – Sì, mi chiamano Mimì

La Bohème 03 – La Scala 1979 – O soave fanciulla

5. If you are an Ana Feleo fan, watch ACT II where I can’t wait to see how Ana Feleo would perform the sexy Musetta.

La Boheme, Manila ACT II. Amid shouts of street hawkers, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet near the Café Momus before introducing her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. A toy vendor, Parpignol, passes by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former lover, Musetta, enters ostentatiously on the arm of the elderly, wealthy Alcindoro. Trying to regain the painter’s attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity. Complaining that her shoe pinches, Musetta sends Alcindoro to fetch a new pair, then falls into Marcello’s arms. Joining a group of marching soldiers, the Bohemians leave Alcindoro to face the bill when he returns.

La Bohème 04 – La Scala 1979 – Quando m’en vo’

6. If you are a blogger, Bachelor Girl is inviting bloggers for a special La Boheme preview!

7. If you are heart broken, you might be able to empathize with the emotions of the songs in Act III of La Boheme in Manila!

La Boheme, Manila ACT III. At dawn on a rainy night, a Customs Officer admits farm women to the city. Musetta and revelers are heard inside a tavern. Soon Mimì walks by, searching for the place where the reunited Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter emerges, she pours out her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy. It is best they part, she says. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, is heard, and Mimì hides; Marcello thinks she has left. Rodolfo tells Marcello he wants to separate from his fickle sweetheart. Pressed further, he breaks down, saying Mimì is dying; her ill health can only worsen in the poverty they share. Overcome, Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell as Marcello runs back into the tavern to investigate Musetta’s raucous laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall their happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello. The painter and his mistress part in fury, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring.

La Bohème 05 – La Scala 1979 – Donde lieta uscì

La Bohème 06 – La Scala 1979 – Dunque è proprio finita

8. If you are a fan of Jennifer Uy, I can’t wait to see her performs the death love scene of Mimi and Rodolfo !

La Boheme, Manila ACT IV. Some months later, Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness in the garret. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. The four stage a dance, which turns into a mock fight. The merrymaking is ended when Musetta bursts in, saying Mimì is downstairs, too weak to climb up. As Rodolfo runs to her, Musetta tells how Mimì has begged to be taken to her lover to die. While Mimì is made comfortable, Marcello goes with Musetta to sell her earrings for medicine, and Colline leaves to pawn his cherished overcoat. Alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first days together, but she is seized with coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimì dies quietly, and when Schaunard discovers she is dead, Rodolfo runs to her side, calling her name.

La Bohème 07 – La Scala 1979 – Mi sento assai megli

La Bohème 08 – La Scala 1979 – Sono andati?

9. If you are watching Paul Potts, please watch FIRST our very own talented Filipino Opera Singers sing Italian Songs in La Boheme.

La Boheme will be performed on October 3-5, 2008, a few days before the Paul Potts performance on October 8. Let us support our very own Filipino Opera talents!

Tickets for 2008 LA BOHEME, CCP Main Theater
( For OAP Friends, I can help you get the tickets please text me Anton +63917-5683627 or email me [email protected])

Oct. 3 (8pm) GALA NIGHT
Orchestra center P4,000.00
Orchestra side P3,000.00
Balcony 1 center P1,500.00
Balcony 1 side P1,000.00
Balcony 2 P 500.00

Box (6 exclusive seats)
Parterre Box (6 exclusive seats) P30,000.00
Upper Box P20,000.00
Lower Box P10,000.00

Oct. 4 (8pm), Oct. 5 (3pm)
Orchestra center P3,000.00
Orchestra side P2,500.00
Balcony 1 center P1,500.00
Balcony 1 side P1,000.00
Balcony 2 P 500.00

Box (6 exclusive seats)
Parterre Box P20,000.00
Upper Box P15,000.00
Lower Box P10,000.00

Senior Citizen 20%
Students 50% (for Balcony 1 and 2 sections only)

Please contact the Philippine Opera Company at 892-8786 or visit www.philippineoperacompany.com for more details.
Tickets are also available at all TicketWorld outlets with trunkline number 891-9999.

10. If you comment on this post, you might just win tickets to La Boheme in Manila!

Our Awesome Planet fully supports the most awaited opera La Boheme in Manila! OAP will give prizes to the best comments and reactions to this blog post.

Live an Awesome Life!


Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. www.OurAwesomePlanet.com Copyright 2008.