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Opera Company of Philadelphia Opens the Season with A New, Art-Inspired Production of Puccini’s LA BOHÈME

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For Immediate Release:   September 5, 2012                           
Contact:    Tracy C. Galligher    215-893-5903

Classic new setting showcases over two dozen artistic masterpieces from The Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art – OCP Proud to partner with the “With Art, Philadelphia” Campaign

BOHÈME Runs in Five Performances at the Academy of Music, Sept. 28 – Oct. 7, plus a Free, Public, Big-Screen Broadcast at Independence Mall on October 6th, generously underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Philadelphia, PA:  An inspired new production of Puccini’s ultra-romantic blockbuster, La bohème opens the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s 2012-2013 Season on September 28, 30m, October 3, 5 & 7m, 2012 at the Academy of Music.  The timeless story of a shy seamstress and a passionate poet who chance upon each other on a snowy Parisian evening, La bohème is known for its lush melodies, sweeping orchestral work, and characters that touch the very heart of our humanity. 

This original production by Italian director/designer Davide Livermore (Cinderella, ’06) creates a classically beautiful setting at the turn of the 20th Century, and prominently features an array of the world’s most celebrated masterpieces from The Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as renowned art from around the world.  The imagery will come to vivid life through large-scale, HD projections, shining a spotlight on the bohemian influences of the era with creations by artists such as Renoir, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Cassatt.

“Our director, Davide Livermore, came to us with a vision of highlighting the true artists of the time,” shared Opera Company General Director David B. Devan.  “It was an incredible moment of alignment with what is happening here as our city revels in its own vibrant, internationally-recognized collections.  We are proud to partner with The Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in making La bohème an authentic and unique experience for our city, and in being the first performance-based partner in the With Art, Philadelphia campaign.”

“One of the most exciting aspects of our new home is our ability to create partnerships in new and sometimes unexpected ways,” said Derek Gillman, executive director and president of The Barnes Foundation.  “Just as The Barnes celebrates the visual artistry of these masters, La bohème gives voice to the passion behind their work.  This promises to be a compelling marriage of art and music.”

“Working with our fellow museums and cultural tourism partners this year has created a palpable energy around the art community in Philadelphia,” shared Philadelphia Museum of Art Director and Chief Executive Officer Timothy Rub.  “When David came to us with this idea, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to highlight the important cross-section between the visual and performing arts which we have always cultivated at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  We are thrilled to be involved in curating the selection of art in this new production, and delighted to share the unforgettable images of the Museum’s masterpieces with OCP audiences, which can only contribute to their being swept away into the heart of Paris.”

Stunning soprano Norah Amsellem, who received audience and critical acclaim as Desdemona in Otello in 2010 and who frequently performs leading roles in Paris, London, and Vienna, returns to sing the role of Mimì. Academy of Vocal Arts alumnus-turned-international tenor Bryan Hymel makes his company debut as Rodolfo, following a season where he thrilled London audiences in Royal Opera Covent Garden’s Les Troyens, made his debut as Don José in Carmen at La Scala, and sang the title role in Faust with The Santa Fe Opera.  

Returning to the OCP stage as the tumultuous couple, Marcello and Musetta, are two Philadelphia favorites, baritone Troy Cook and soprano Leah Partridge.  Cook, who sang the role of Lescaut in OCP’s April 2012 production of Manon Lescaut, recently sang the role of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Royal Opera, and created the role of Father Palmer in the World Premiere of Silent Night at the Minnesota Opera, which he reprises in Philadelphia this season.  Partridge’s recent performances include Violetta in La traviata with OCP and in Dresden, and Leïla in The Pearl Fishers with Pittsburgh Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre.   Bass Jeremy Milner returns to OCP as Colline, with bass Kevin Glavin also returning in the dual roles of Benoit and Alcindoro.  Baritone Craig Verm makes his company debut as Schaunard.

This new production from Davide Livermore features costumes by Jorge Jara, with a lighting design by OCP veteran lighting designer Drew Billiau.  Vivid video projection imagery is designed by company D-Wok.  Music Director Corrado Rovaris conducts Puccini’s captivating score, leading the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and Orchestra, with members of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs.

In addition to five performances at the Academy of Music with tickets starting at just $10, the season kicks off once again with a free, public, big-screen OPERA ON THE MALL broadcast of La bohème, generously underwritten for the second year by the John S. and James L. Knight FoundationMembers of the community are invited to join the Opera Company of Philadelphia at this free screening of Puccini under the stars on Saturday, October 6th at 7:00 p.m. at Independence National Historical Park.  Registration for free tickets is required – visit to register!

Additional events around La bohème include the following – many of which require free registration.  Visit for details!

September 5, 2012, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 
City Hall Presents:  Puccini’s Heroines Recital:  A one-hour recital of some of Puccini’s most beautiful arias in the Mayor’s Reception Room at City Hall

September 11, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Sing-along Screening of Rent at Bryn Mawr Film Institute:  Inspired by La bohème, join us for this sing-along screening of the film which emerged from the Broadway smash hit. Featuring a live performance of the original “Musetta’s Waltz” and ticket giveaways.

September 13, 2012
InLiquid Exhibit - Philadelphia’s Bohemians: Venture out for Second Thursday at the Crane Arts Building for an exhibit of some of Philadelphia’s own most exciting contemporary artists.

September 20, 2012, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Behind the Scenes of La bohème: An Internet2 Education Program:  Students from across the country will tune in through Internet2 as baritone Craig Verm joins OCP VP of Community Programs Michael Bolton at the University of Pennsylvania offices of MAGPI, providing digital programming connections to educational institutions all over the U.S.

September 23, 2012, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Curtis Institute’s Field Hall
A Taste of Opera:  A free musical preview of La bohème including some of the most exciting young singers in Philadelphia.

September 27, 2012, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park
Community Concert Series:  A musical look at Puccini’s operas with excerpts performed by up-and-coming area singers.

September 29, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Academy of Music
PNC Arts Alive Family Day at the Opera:  A free, family-based educational day at the Academy of Music introduces children K-5 to the magic of opera through musical performances, fun, hand-son activities and lessons, and a chance to tread the time-honored stage at the Academy of Music.  For more information and to register, visit



La bohème

by Giacomo Puccini


September 28, 30m, October 3, 5 & 7m, 2012

Sung in Italian with English translations


Conductor                         Corrado Rovaris
Director & Designer          Davide Livermore
Costume Design               Jorge Jara*
Lighting Design                 Drew Billiau
Video Design                     D-Wok*
Wig & Make-up Design     Tom Watson
Chorus Master                    Elizabeth Braden

Rodolfo                               Bryan Hymel*                                  
Mimì                                    Norah Amsellem                            
Musetta                               Leah Partridge                                 
Marcello                              Troy Cook                                          
Schaunard                          Craig Verm*                                     
Colline                                Jeremy Milner                                 
Benoit/Alcindoro                 Kevin Glavin                                     
Parpignol                            Toffer Mihalka

Featuring the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and Orchestra, with members of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs.


La bohème, Silent Night and The Magic Flute are performed at The Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets. Curtis Opera Theatre’s Owen Wingrave and OCP’s Powder Her Face are performed at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets.

Performance times:  Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Full season subscriptions to Opera at the Academy or the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater are on sale through October.  Phone hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 215-732-8400.   Tickets to La bohème are on sale with Ticket Philadelphia at 215-893-1018 or


The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater is generously underwritten by Wyncote Foundation.  LA BOHÈME ON THE MALL is underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  US Airways is the official airline of the Opera Company.  YAMAHA is the official piano of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Hyatt at the Bellevue is the official hotel of the Opera Company.  Burdumy Motors Incorporated is the official automotive dealership of the Opera Company.  The Opera Company of Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Jacob Burns Foundation, Inc., Independence Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation and Wyncote Foundation. The Opera Company of Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and theNational Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.  General operating support is provided, in part, by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.