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Regina Opera presents fully staged production of Puccini’s “La Bohème”

Following November’s well-received production of “Hansel and Gretel,” Regina Opera is preparing a fully-staged production of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” one of the most poignant love stories ever written. It’s a tender vignette of youth, romance and grief among the impoverished artists of mid-19th century Paris.

In the opera, the poet Rodolfo falls in love with Mimi, a seamstress, but their love is overshadowed by her grave illness. Puccini’s music vividly brings their joys and sorrows to life.

“It is lovely to revisit La Bohème again,” stage director Linda Lehr told this paper. “Each time I direct it, I find something new. It is one of those works that, while shining a light on a specific time, place and group of people, also has a timeless quality that continually engages new audiences.”

To enhance audience appreciation, the company will be presenting it in the original Italian with a simultaneous English translation (known as supertitles) projected above the stage. Supertitles will enable the audience to understand exactly what’s being sung while preserving the beauty and harmony of the original language with the music.

Conductor Gregory Ortega said that he always looks forward to conducting “La Bohème.” “It was the first opera I conducted (48 years ago) and it reveals more and more of its hidden musical secrets every time I conduct it,” he explained. “It may be one of the reasons that it is still one of the most popular operas in the repertory.  I think the audience also finds something new at every performance.”

There will be four performances of the opera, fully staged with a 35-piece orchestra, on Mar. 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy (OLPH) of Brooklyn, 5902 Sixth Avenue. Ticket prices are $25 general admission, $20 for senior citizens and college students, $5 for teens, and free for children 12 and under.

There will be an admission-free “sneak peek” preview on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. performed by the company’s understudies accompanied by piano. These “sneak peek” performances of the fully-staged opera serve the dual purpose of providing free opera to the community while giving the understudies the valuable experience of a complete performance.

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