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Author: Clay Evans

Zesty, youthful ‘La Bohème’ — like ‘spring break in Paris,’ Oct. 25-27

BOULDER, Colo. — “La Bohème,” Puccini’s beloved tale of young Bohemians in Paris, will offer a genuine taste of Italian opera when it comes to Boulder Oct. 25-27.

Paolo Panizza, who for more than 20 years has worked with the biggest names in Italian opera, will direct CU Opera’s production at Macky Auditorium.

“It’s the coolest thing. He’s a professional director who has worked as an assistant for (Franco) Zeffirelli and also at La Scala. He’s internationally known and this will be his directing debut in the United States,” says Leigh Holman, director of CU Opera.

Panizza is putting the emphasis on youth andjoie de vivrein the classic story of Rodolfo, an idealistic poet who falls in love with a milliner named Mimi.

“We’re calling it ‘spring break in Paris,’” Holman says. “This is about young, beautiful people who fall in love, go to cafés, drink wine, make love and fight. Tragic things do occur, but Paolo is approaching this as more of a celebration of life.”

Giacomo Puccini’s take on Bohemian life is widely considered one of the most popular operas of all time and its influence has extended beyond the opera world. Some of its songs have been adapted into pop hits and the score is the source material for the Tony Award-winning musical, “Rent.”

It’s a zesty, accessible introduction to opera for newcomers, Holman says.

“It has endured because the story is about real people, not kings or mythological beings,” Holman says. “It’s about poor people, young Bohemians and artists, trying to make their way in Paris. It is ‘verismo’ opera, telling truths about everyday life.”

CU Opera presents Puccini’s “La Bohème”

Directed by Paolo Panizza

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25-26; 2 p.m. Oct. 27

WHERE: Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder campus

TICKETS: $14 and up

INFO: cupresents.org or 303-492-8008