In the fall of 1957, a young conductor, Russell Patterson proposed to transplant the European opera theatre to a more or less typical American setting. A number of local opera buffs welcomed the idea, but there were many qualms. Friends told them it could not be done. The Company has been proving the friends wrong ever since . Today Lyric Opera brings high quality live operatic perfomances to the people of the Kansas City area and five state region. Repertoire choices encompass original language performancrs of standard repertory as well as contemporary and American operas.
The Company seeks to mount productions that enrich the community it serves, as well as reflect the highest artistic standards of the profession. The Lyric Opera offers innovative programs designed to further music and arts education both in schools and in the community. The education staff works directly with teachers, parents, and young people in a collaborative effort to create award winning programs such as Opera Heroines and Opera Heroes.
During the March 7th First Friday Lyric Opera’s La Boheme preview event took place. French inspired cuisine, entertainment, and live performances by Lyric Opera apprentices brought Paris to life in Kansas City. La Boheme is an opera in four acts composed by Giancomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosi based on Scenes de la vie de Boheme by Henri Murger.
La Boheme follows the adventures of a quartet of irrepressible and impoverished young Parisians. When the seamstress Mimi and the poet Rodolfo fall in love, the fragile nature of life and love follow the course of the changing seasons. Like the parallel relationship of Rodolfo’s roommate Marcello and Musetta, Mimi and Rodolfo’s love is not without conflict. At the end of the opera, however, they are united tragically as Mimi returns to the garret and dies there, surrounded by her friends. Giancomo Puccini’s tenderly beautiful music plays in counterpoint to the comic antics of the bohemians, creating an unforgettable and enduring masterpiece. Musical devices emphasize the libretto, which consists of common language turned poetic.
Also, in 1957 Illica’s widow died and his papers were given to the Parma Museum. Among them was the full libretto to La Boheme. It was discovered that the librettists had prepared an act which Puccini decided not to use in his composition. The “missing act” is located in the timeline between the Cafe Mormos scene and act 3 and describes an open-air party at Musetta’s dwelling. Her protector has refused to pay further rent out of jealous feelings and Musetta’s furniture is moved into the courtyard to be auctioned off the following morning. The four Bohemians find this an excuse for a party and arrange wine and an orchestra. Musetta gives Mimi a beautiful gown to wear and introduces her to a Viscount. The pair dances a quadrille in the courtyard, which moves Rodolfo to jealousy. This explains his remarks to Marcello in act 3. As dawn approaches, furniture dealers gradually remove pieces for the morning auction.
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