Director John Copley discusses his iconic production of Puccini's La bohème at an Insights session with presenter Petroc Trelawny.
Copley's production had it's world premiere in 1974, and retires in 2015.
La bohème had a lukewarm reception at its premiere in 1896, but its fortunes almost immediately changed. Giacomo Puccini's romantic depiction of bohemian Paris, with memorable music and a love story drawn from everyday life, has captivated audiences round the world, making La bohème one of the best-loved of all operas. It was first performed in Covent Garden in 1897 and has had more than 500 performances here since.
John Copley's production 1974 production, with wonderfully detailed designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, brings Paris of the 1830s to life – everything from the lively Latin Quarter, where hawkers and traders ply their wares, to a drafty attic where impoverished artists live hand-to-mouth. Rodolfo and Mimì's love story is given moving expression through Puccini's score, from their first meeting in Act I (a scene which contains some of the composer’s most exquisite arias and duets) to their poignant reunion in Act IV. These moments of emotional intensity are contrasted with the colourful spectacle of the Café Momus and surrounding streets in Act II, where Puccini presents a cross-section of Parisian society in all its noise and vibrancy.,