The UT Opera Theatre premiered the Italian opera "La Boheme" at the Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre on Friday.
"La Boheme," a four act opera written by Giacomo Puccini, takes place in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the late 1800s. Revolving around the relationship of Rodolfo, a poor poet, and Mimi, a seamstress, the story follows these two lovers and their friends in embracing the Bohemian lifestyle, when artists would go against the status quo to fully express themselves.
The Opera Theatre's version, directed by James Marvel, displays the artist's defiance of society's boundaries and proves that romance can exist within poverty. The direction and production of the performance remained true the story; if any part had been left out or done differently, the emotional effect would not have been the same.
Throughout the play, each action and musical note became more important as the story developed. The play began with a light mood, with Rodolfo and his friends making jokes and jabs at each other, but as the storyline progressed the actors created a dimension to the written lyrics that became fluid with the music.
By Act II, the foundation of the opera had been set, leading to heightened emotions and anticipation for what would happen next. The only interruption was the short intermission, which created an impatient audience waiting to see and hear more.
The cast is changed around for every performance, but for good reason. Two hours long, the opera can be vocally straining, so a changing cast is understandable, said Erin Sherwin, freshman in biological sciences.
"I didn't really know what to expect with the singing, but it's really good," Sherwin said. "The fact that they change the cast for every performance is probably for the best since the songs are such vocally demanding pieces."
The Carousel Theatre provided the supreme backdrop for the opera. Small, comfortable seating was designed around the center of the room, where the cast and chorus could walk, and the stage, where most of the set was. The live orchestra, comprised of 25 musicians and conducted by Kevin Class, resided behind the set. Although barely visible due to the set design, the music's presence was tremendous and truly elevated the story and made it a great performance.
Angela Sipaseuth, sophomore in chemistry, said that she liked the personality of the characters and the music, but would have changed the place of the orchestra.
"I can't really see them from the angle I'm sitting at," Sipaseuth said. "I think if they were actually visible and the audience actually saw them, that would be really cool."
"La Boheme" will have its last showing Monday night at 8 p.m. in the Carousel Theatre